Monday off because I was moving. Do you know how stressful moving is? This was part one of the first move I was making. Second part was the next day and the second move on Friday. A fellow referee helped me out and I was able to move half my belongings to a temporary spot.
I had another exhibition game with the same home team exactly one week after the previous. The moving the two hours before was heavy-lifting and I was relieved I had everything done before my game. I certainly didn’t need a warm-up after it. I was fully moved out by then. All these shelves had my ref stuff on them.
I found the dressing room and got changed quickly before the rest of my crew arrived and we went out to the field awaiting the field booking time to come.
I went through something different in my warm-up routine that my ARs were very embarrassed to do it. I may refrain from trying that again.
The game kicked-off soon enough and before blowing the whistle, I looked at the awe-inspiring view in the sunset in the background.
Almost in a massive deja vu, I witnessed a hard foul in the exact same spot against the home team. It was a reckless kick in the upper shin area. The sound of the kick reverberated across the field. It was so hard I was almost annoyed about it since it was the first sign of escalation in the game and unnecessary too. The player had bent over at the impact but the ball had fallen in front of her kindly. I yelled as loudly as I could (and angrily) “Advantage. Play On!”. She played the ball down the wing coming out of her own half and she was fouled just after she tried to play it to a teammate. There was a loud “Ooooh” from the crowd. I saw the advantage dissipate and I blew the whistle long and hard before changing direction to the spot of the second foul. It was another reckless kick. I called both players immediately and attended to the striker that was kicked. She was in obvious discomfort. After reprimanding both defenders and letting them leave on the note that their behaviour was being monitored closely, I returned to the striker. I had summoned the trainers on immediately when I noticed her apparent discomfort. The half-time mark passed and I blew the whistle which also allowed the player to seek longer medical attention during the interval.
After arriving at the benches at halftime, I had some friends and fellow officials spectating. They had also taken some footage of the game so I could review. My nearside AR proceeded to chuckle on how I had verbally signalled my advantage because it didn’t quite come out how I wanted it to. I couldn’t help but laugh with him a bit.
The second half’s most noteworthy incident was a penalty decision. An attacker ran through on goal. I had failed to anticipate it and was sprinting slightly behind. When the foul happened (goalkeeper tripped attacker with her hands), it was clear. I blew the whistle and since my right hand has my Valkeen lanyard, I held on while blowing and then pointed straight to the penalty spot. No question it was a foul. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my AR1 bolt down the touchline and around the corner flag to confirm it was a penalty kick. It was one of those fields where telling the lines is difficult. I had arrived close enough to adjudge the same as well. I didn’t hesitate either. I knew this was DOGSO. Red. The only question was whether I should have shown it. I hesitated and I’m sure my body language mirrored it because I walked around a bit before finally looking to my AR1. He had his hand on his back-pocket. I knew that part but it was just a friendly and almost a training session. I had a quick chat and he said either way, it would be fine so I returned back to the goalkeeper.
Me: You know that was a red card right?
GK: But I didn’t do anything.
Me: I’m just telling you what my decision would be. In a regular season game, that’s what would happen.
She silently nodded in confirmation and that was the end of it. Perhaps she was trying to talk me out of it but I was simply trying to get the message across. The team had substituted their goalkeeper at half-time so both could get some playing time so I didn’t want to end this second goalkeeper’s spell early but I did want her to know at the very least. There was very little protest except I later heard the defending team coach negotiating a yellow card with the onlooking referees.
Early in the first half, my shoelace came undone and I proceeded to fix it in my position as the ball was fetched for a corner kick. I heard from the distance a familiar and happy voice “Beer”. I knew exactly who it was and I chuckled as I looked across to the other side. Sometime in the second half, the ball took a spin as it headed out of bounds and hit AR1’s feet. A referee colleague nearby said “That beer is going to taste good! Mmmmm” I couldn’t help but chuckle at that one as I passed by and he noticed and said “Be careful! You’ve been almost hit by the ball a few times this game!” Plenty of fun banter.
Since the prior Tuesday, I had also modified my diagonal to something perhaps unorthodox. I haven’t had time to make a diagram on it but it’s an S where I go to and almost deflect off the touchline as play gets closer to the penalty area so that my positioning gets closer to the penalty mark than the corner flag.
We went out for dinner after discussing parts of the game and joking about other incidents.
An enormous part of refereeing that is normally very hard to address. This is often because you can’t see what you are doing, how you walk, how you talk and only footage or observers can tell you.
I received a lot of feedback on this day with regards to signalling and what-not that I have been paying closer attention to. I have had a lot of issues of hyper-extending my arm for signalling as an AR in the past and this was the first time I was told I was doing the same as a referee! The best remedy has been to plant both feet and give the signal.
I also had a few bent arm signals with the right or left hand at times that I wasn’t aware of.
Many other things like general conduct, body language and running style have been things to pay attention to. I have spent a lot of time reviewing the footage over and over again.
My Wednesday game was interesting because it was one of the last games of the season. I was working with two familiar officials; one of whom gave me a ride. Both teams were high up in the table standings. The game kicked off and from an initial assessment of the game, I knew my goal was to appear calm and collected at all times so when the crowd yelled at times in appeal for a collision that involved no foul, I continued to look onto play with mild interest trying to seem unfazed. Both teams were high in the standings but the away team had already won the league with games on hand to go.
The home team coach seemed appreciative of this at the end of the game.
Friday was about 6 hours of lifting boxes for my second move. Another referee was able to help me out mid-way through and thank goodness because it would have taken longer considering I was carrying boxes from one building to the adjacent one.
The Provincial-level games were back and plenty of AR appointments coming up especially on this weekend.
It was the same crew as the last week Tuesday with AR2 as the referee. I had managed to dig out what I needed and was picked up by a colleague even though the field was only technically 750m away. It was a warm day. We settled into the changing room, walked around the field and then returned to change into our warm-up gear. Having worked with him before, I was familiar with his routine. The coaches were in a fairly good mood; it was the season-opener.
As the referee got hit by the ball off a deflection, I saw the look on his face which had disappointment. I had a huge grin on my face. The rest was to come at the end of the half. Then it was puns left right and centre throughout conversation about “being on the ball” and much more.
Another interesting scenario happened in the first half. The goalkeeper charged during an OGSO. The attacker had turned her back to the goalkeeper and a few defenders caught up and covered the goal. The goalkeeper knew that retreating would give the attacker space to turn and perhaps leave the ball in the back of the net past her defenders. As the GK got closer, she finally hugged the attacker from behind and brought her down. It looked quite funny and was quite clearly breaking up a promising attack and an easy decision for the referee.
Sunday was the second game of the weekend and I was picked up by the same referee. The referee this time was travelling from far away and he had assessed me only a week ago on the line. I arrived in the changing rooms to find, in absolute horror, that I had forgotten the appropriate brand of uniforms. I had it all arranged before leaving but had forgotten to put it in my bag. My heart started racing. It was 40 minutes to KO. Luckily my co-AR threw me her keys and I raced home about 1km away and grabbed it. I was back so fast that nobody noticed I had gone.
I felt like I had to go back and forth being familiar with the facilities since I was going up and down doing various tasks. A senior referee came to watch and gave me some feedback at the end of the game. There was a bit of a lesson in bench management as the coach for the away team was displeased a few times and on one particular occasion despite his team leading. I did my best to multi-task between covering the line and calming him down with reason as play was busy on the other end of the pitch.
I also got a chance to work on the feedback given to me by the referee in the middle when he had assessed me and he was pleased with my overall performance. I felt hesitant calling fouls on the day so it’s something I need to better work on.