A day’s rest that was well-used.
Soon off for my next game on Saturday. I met to carpool with a senior and highly experienced referee in my area. He was also one of my favourite assessors since he breaks down the cause and effect relationship very well. It’s clear to see what I need to work on to resolve issues I have in the game. It goes a little beyond the identification process and more into analysis. It was also a longer than usual amount of time to chat with someone since we were travelling together which was a nice experience. I reflected on my season with him briefly in addition to two games (one he had assessed me on and another that he had worked with me on) that were both in pivotal moments of the season.
With pre-game arrival times become earlier, there is more time beforehand to get ready and do so leisurely improving mental preparation immediately before the match and some extra time to chat with ARs.
The game started off and it was a little frisky to my surprise. I had done the girls at the same level but the boys seemed something else. Perhaps both teams being from neighbouring areas was another reason it felt a bit like a derby but I couldn’t be sure.
It was a warm day and I eventually called a water break after seeing some of the players visibly troubled by the energy-sapping weather. They weren’t the only ones. I was quite tired too. The sun had fatigued and drained my mental focus. Having chatted with my AR1, he said it was affecting my diagonal which became narrower since I was implicitly conserving energy. It was hard to remedy when I was told at the time during the second water break since I couldn’t just get more energy from nowhere but I did my best.
The home team assistant coach was upset at a caution I showed right before half-time to one of his team’s players. An attacker running in a promising attack was tripped and he collided with another defender during his fall. I was immediately there to give the decision. The trip was from a slide-tackle making only slight contact but enough to send him falling which caused some yelling. Luckily my AR1 was able to calm him down quickly and effectively (unfortunately I wasn’t able to take note on how). Reflecting on it later and discussing with other onlooking referees, he should have been dismissed for his reaction.
Game day Sunday finally arrived and I geared up all my stuff, hopped into the rental car and was focused on the game. I made the trip faster than normal because I got there in 25 minutes as opposed to sometimes 40 minutes.
It was early enough that my crew looked through some of the referee equipment I had out to sell. I carry it often with me to games. In the end, I took everyone’s game fees home! It was also fun seeing them happy with their new equipment and gearing up.
It was an exciting game going back and forth up until 2-1 in the last 10 minutes. The last moments of the game were critical. Any incorrect decision I made would affect the result of the game. The away team were leading and they were keeping the ball as far away from their penalty area as they could. In the last minute of the game, the home team regained possession and began attacking but a foul disrupted the flow. 30 seconds to go. The player fouled was upset and I was near the vicinity when the decision was made. I quickly attended to him on the defending half side of the centre circle to let him know that restarting play quickly was a better reward than cautioning the player. I then dashed around the centre circle to get my panoramic view and his teammate launched the ball up the left wing in my diagonal. 20 seconds to go. As I curved my diagonal from the side into the penalty area, there was a low cross to a teammate just outside the penalty area. He squared up and took a stunning volley beating the goalkeeper on his right hand side. The team erupted. I signalled the goal while getting a good view of everything. Looked at my watch. 5 seconds left. It almost felt as good as an advantage panning out. It was definitely a great note to end on.
Regardless, I felt I had been inconsistent that game. Sometimes I feel that my inaction and letting the game continue (without any physical repercussion on the players of course) is the way to go but it ends up looking like indecision or even incompetence at times and a loss of credibility. Time to be as decisive as possible and make an impression. Or something along those lines. Unfortunately that’s when referees may be accused of thinking the game is all about them. It’s a fine line.
I definitely ran a fair bit that day at around 11km.
My crew had enjoyed the game and I had mixed feelings on whether nobody being there to assess was an entirely good or bad thing. Plenty more to reflect on.