Reflection and goal-setting is how the ambitious achieve what seems impossible to the ordinary. As a result, I’ll be keeping in check with this habit and giving me more accountability in developing as a referee and a blogger.
Easier said than done. I approached 2014 believing this wasn’t difficult and that I needed to give this a greater focus. I failed to realise how my actions on the field were being perceived. There has been a vast improvement in communication with players and understanding about how I handle situations. Instead of making decisions based on what I see in the game, I ensure my mechanics are set-up to make any unexpected calls appear imminent or succinctly explainable. This doesn’t mean I shy away from the difficult decisions. It’s a relief that I can use this technique with much more success.
Aside from a better sense of judgement with common sense, I’ve picked up a hyper-sensitive ability to detect and make quick decisions on quick deflections (double, triple, quadruple or whatever flavor you choose). This has been immensely satisfying as it can be unnerving being clueless about the direction of a throw-in or goal-line decision when players expect quick decisions; an evolution of experience (somehow a better understanding of ball ballistics).
I cannot doubt that my fitness has suffered. Having been on the precipice of quitting refereeing, the motivation to train disappeared and once you drop a good habit, it’s hard to get it back. Recovering fitness will be a tough journey but rewarding in it’s own right.
Remember how I said being able to drive a car was convenient in getting around and travelling more? Well… Imagine how I was when I owned one! If I had refereed as much as 2014, I certainly would have covered some good mileage but alas, I most likely covered the same amount of distance. The difference really was a lower quantity of games but fields were no longer in walking or commutable distance from home.
This has changed how I view my refereeing appointments forever.
- Since someone is holding larbitre.com prisoner (for no apparent purpose), I, unfortunately, was unable to obtain it when the blog crossed 100K views. It’s a milestone I’m proud of reaching but it could only be done with all of you. Thank you to everyone reading this! It’s good to know I’m not alone out here.
- Life happens. It’s the eventuality that all blogs will end because the owner/blogger will find life catching up and that was the story with 2015. Without blogging, I haven’t been able to tell my experiences or really reflect on the decisions I made as much. I can’t say I have gotten as far as I would have liked to as a result.
- A lot of work has been put into developing the store. I’m proud to say that it’s in the pre-launch phase and has been receiving orders from around the world.
- I moved an unexpected number of times during the year which made establishing referee much more difficult. I’m pleased to say that I was able to quickly figure out the lay of the land and settle back in. The beauty of refereeing is the comradery and family feeling that comes as part of it and there will be family all around the world.
- 26 blog posts for the upcoming year (being more realistic).
- Launch and become the #1 referee store in Canada and the most high-tech referee store on the planet.
- Strategise for refereeing after moving again. Yes. There’s another move coming in the not too distant future.
- Practicing mental reminders during tough games. Knowing when things are going wrong and how to correct them is one of my top focuses.
- Being able to manage most games isn’t hard but having one that pushes you out of your comfort zone and really damages your confidence and ego is not something that is highly sought after. Bad games don’t feel good. Not just immediately after but in the days following… The difference between it and a good game is that it forces you to re-think your approach to refereeing and move forward. You need to fall if you want to get up and be even stronger.
- Return to 30/40 interval training fitness by the end of the year whether I’m still refereeing or not. If upgrading is on the agenda, that deadline will be advanced to March/April.
The World Game
Speaking on a far more global note, football has taken massive strides in CONCACAF in 2015 and the opening days of 2016. The USSF Advice to Referees was scrapped but the upcoming re-write to the LOTG will send reverberations around the football world that will change the game forever. IFAB’s previous conservatism to the game’s evolution appears to have subsided.
The only question is whether football will ever be the same again. Everything will depend on the March IFAB AGM.