2017

Another year passes by and another opportunity to reflect.

2017 has been quite the up-and-down. There’s a lot to be proud of and a lot to be disappointed about. Ultimately I lean towards disappointment because I didn’t give football the full-attention it has afforded in past years. Nevertheless, it progressed more than I could have hoped for while I emotionally neglected it for the most part. At least that’s the way I felt.

Some categories deserve a deeper dive so I’ll call them out.

Big Picture

Reeling it in. I’ve been able to get comfortable enough with the little things now that I can see how the little things (i.e. fouls/interactions) are influencing the game at large and where I need to take action and/or be mindful of its effect. This is something I felt that has simply developed over time with repetition and confidence building.

The best example of this is detecting persistent infringement on a target player; the same player being repeatedly getting fouled and often the most skilled player on the team. This stamp on the game by the defending team often detracts fromt the entertainment value of the game and it’s the referee’s responsibility to maintain a fun, fair and safe environment.

Big Games

Every referee wants the big games.

I wanted to reach the top division of the local semi-pro league and simply officiate any match in it successfully. It would be a sign of progression, trust from the assignor and a personal validation of my refereeing. I was thrilled to get this far.

I was incredibly fortunate to referee the region’s cup final as an assistant referee. When it came down to the Final Four, I had two semis across two divisions and the final of the second division. It was rather unexpected. The experience was fantastic but I don’t think I had enough physical preparation given it was a week following the marathon and I had a few muscle knots I couldn’t quite shake off.

Fitness

If there’s something I don’t have to be disappointed about, it’s definitely here. I started working in the gym from January-February. I wasn’t seeing results and I didn’t really know what I was doing so I decided to get some credible advice. I needed someone who knew what they were doing. No not my roommate!

I needed a personal trainer. This was a bit ambitious. Not to mention… costly.

I dug around my network about it and spoke to a co-worker.

The best money I ever spent was on a personal trainer.

That was a lofty claim.

I was willing to give it a shot and see where it went. I signed up for a trial session and it went rather well. I was curious so a few sessions turned into several. Several turned into dozens. Dozens turned into 50. Beyond that, I was being assigned homework work-outs to do on my own time to supplement the sessions. I learned that apart from my personal goals, I had begun to hit a well-rounded set of exercises that was accounting for my football refereeing, health, flexibility and overall wellness. Side-benefits of lifting! Supervised/critiqued of course.

In fact, I became absolutely consumed with the gym this year. I put no understatement on this but I was close to living at the gym. I even picked up the intensity during Ramadan from 3 times/week to 4 times/week and adjusted my entire sleep schedule for the rest of the year to fit it in and attempt to control my weight.

It was a whole new escape from what I had done in past years; solely running.

Retrospective on 2017 Goals

Full marathon

Done and dusted! How did I decide a full marathon? I searched for people in my network that had done it and got the advice that doing a full was all about confidence. Commit to it and prepare. Nothing overly crazy.

In all honesty, I’m a bit surprised this happened. I had committed to training in the early part of the year after registering. I ran once a week apart from refereeing with a slower partner. The cadence broke. In April, I decided I was going to do a major solo run to gauge distance since I’d never done mass distances before. 32 km successful – it took time to complete and I didn’t have resources like energy bars/water so I was confident that I was more or less ready.

Then… I got busy. I traveled, hosted guests, went through Ramadan and… the marathon was in a week! I did an 8km run 5 days before and then on sheer willpower and determination, ran 26.2 miles in 5 hours and 38 minutes.

Years of football refereeing and grueling tournaments deserve all the kudos for carrying me through the arduous second half. It took quite a while to recover from the muscle knots of the race.

Hit the gym on a 3-day cadence

Went above and beyond on this. 4 days/week!

Write at least 7 blog posts on game recaps

Six. Almost hit it but what a coincidence. Hope I keep driving on reflection because it helps me drive my refereeing forward.

Write 1 education blog post

Two! Anticipating positioning and working as a team. Definitely did not expect to be able to write more than one because it’s often taxing and a lot of work but they were active topics of discussion and convenient to help replicate. Hopefully more to come in 2018!

Transition to an above average Provincial referee

This one is hard to gauge. I think I’m average when it came to 2017 and I consider this a missed target.

Cover-to-cover read of the Laws

I had started traveling so often that this was a rather last-minute goal. I realised a 5-hour flight was the perfect opportunity to open the book and do a deep-read. What I mean is to look at it in such detail (like an engineer would) to find any loopholes as there were before.

The post gathered a lot of controversy from people thinking I had never read the Laws of the Game. I had studied the major Law changes and have a close to eidetic memory of the pre-rewrite Laws. I hadn’t felt comfortable since since I hadn’t been able to read it cover-to-cover until now.

Disappointing but better late than never.

Intermediate Spanish fluency

I stayed behind after every game with the referee assignor for the league. He was mainly the convenor for the league so referee assigning was more of a necessity to keep the league running. That being said, he had a knack for understanding the referees in his pool and assigning them appropriately. After each game, I’d discuss the player interactions I had had with him; what they said, what they meant, what I said and how I could have said what I wanted to say.

This helped me build a list of useful phrases, begin to learn what the players were commonly saying and above all, gain their respect by showing I took the forethought to learn the language and play their game. Always useful to be multi-faceted and have additional skills. I slowly built up a list of common phrases that I’d practice in front of the mirror. Pronunciation was challenging to remember. I had to say it right for it to count!

Complete maintenance requirement

I was definitely slow to complete this. I completed my fitness in July, first maintenance in August and last maintenance in November.

Receive a long-distance tournament invite

Rule #1 of goal-setting: Never set a goal that is out of your hands. I’m empty-handed on this one other than being invited to doing the Cup final for the province.

Store Goals

  • I had set a goal to be the #1 store in CONCACAF. Maybe a bit lofty and definitely unscoped. I’ve learnt more about goal-setting and execution over the past year and think I’ll be better now. Back to the drawing board here.
  • I definitely failed on fleshing out the mission more. I have something specific in mind and aim to deliver on it this year!

Goals for 2018

Coming in the next post. Isn’t this long enough?

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