So sometimes refereeing isn’t all as glamorous as I peg it out to be. What do I refer to? Travel!
It’s a struggle trying to move up as a referee without a car. Since I’m in that predicament for the time-being, you can see in each post on this blog, a part of the adventure I experience as part of it. Unfortunately, the fields in the cities I have been to are quite dispersed and distant so getting to fields can be inconvenient at times. The only thing that keeps me going is a love for the game.
Bus trips, transfers etc. for up to 2.5 hours of travel aren’t much of a bother. When I had my first experience of long-distance ( >50km) carpooling with a team of officials for a game, it was a very different experience. Although far faster than a bus, it was just… different. Something I need to get used to.
Here’s the load of transit transfers I have picked up in just 2012 while refereeing. Must have been a good 400+ chits.
For public transit example, early in my first year of refereeing, I received my first competitive Cup appointment on a Sunday morning out on the outskirts of the city. Public transit doesn’t run in that area on weekends so it left me with my hands tied. It was now a matter of getting there by any means necessary for this 11am kick-off. 7am wake-up and 7:45am departure. 45 minutes later as far as the bus service would take me that morning and a 4 kilometre hike in the scorching sun with my large ref bag, I reached the field just an hour before kick-off and the area was deserted. The return trip was a taxi ride but the experience alone was worth it.
Aside from being depressed that game fees were being burnt on taxi money for the most part that season, I was enjoying the experience of managing competitive games. My walks take me far out of the way of regular pathways and roads sometimes. Below are just some of the photos of the countryside (sometimes jungle) I have to cross and various other venues. Not limited to games but includes referee-related adventures i.e. meetings. I’ve done the same in 13 inches of snow wearing sneakers.
You have to do what you have got to do for the beautiful game.
This post is dedicated to all those bus refs who spend that extra time of their day commuting to games. All for the beautiful game!