Prescript: so much for the new blog space and goal to keep this up to date with my thoughts and feelings. I tried, but so many go into the "draft" file and I never finish them. That is the story of my life.... So here's hoping this one doesn't end up in the draft file too.
When my oldest turned 14 he was able to take a soccer referee course and then apply to the local youth soccer association and get a job as a soccer referee. I was a coach at the time and thought it would be a good idea to take the course myself. I also couldn't let my 14 year old go into a classroom full of adults (or so I thought). So I became a ref. That was in 1995!
The first game I reffed was in April 2013. What took me so long to step foot on frey? Schedule. It was the first season I only had one team to coach. I haven't regretted putting on the stripes. Of course I do the little kids (U10) for many reasons. Frst, it is the first time they have had a ref and therefore you are still "god". Second, the field is smaller and you can almost do the whole game in the center circle. You run to make a show for the parents and to keep yourself from going crazy or when it is cold, to get the blood flowing. Of course I really am just joking, but there have been games where I don't really move that much.
Now to become the ref I am today, I have had to keep my certification up to date. I have to go to class every year and then pass a test. This is the same test that every soccer referee has to take. Not really a big deal, but it sort of is. We have to stay current with the laws and procedures. We earn those stripes.
Now why is this a post about names?
Well, I earned the name a REFEREE! and dang it! USE IT!
This past weekend I reffed a girls U10 game. It was the last one of the regular season, literally a 3:30 start and there wasn't another game after us. It was a cool fall day in the Pacific Northwest; a bit gray, no a lot gray and very cool. I don't think my fingers ever warmed up.
On the sidelines of this game was an acquaintance of mine, "Hans". We have been on soccer boards before and sat through countless referee clinics. I also knew that he didn't have any skin in this game--all his children are too old to be this age and they don't live nearby. He was there because he is a "pitch rat" and can't get enough of youth soccer. He wasn't the coach, just a "parent' on the sidelines.
His team "blue" was way over their heads in this game and I saw this within the first few minutes of the game. Their strategy was to kick the ball out of bounds no matter where on the pitch they were. This was going to be a L O N G game! Every time "orange" had the ball "blue" would kick it out. "Orange" then spend the whole game practicing their throw ins.
Now the law for the throw in is this:
-faces the field of play
-has part of each foot on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline
-uses both hands
-delivers the ball from behind and over his head.
As I watched "orange" throw the ball in most of the time these points were followed, but Hans kept yelling, "Bad throw." I kept hearing him. He was usually wrong. There were a few when the player jumped and I called them. Unfortunately it was usually a "blue" player who did an improper throw in.
He consistently kept saying, "bad throw" and I kept hearing him. He then started saying, "Bad throw, Doreen." Now that got me! I'm not Doreen on the field. I'm "REF!" I earned that title! I let it go and at half I checked the laws again to make sure I was calling the game correctly. I started the second half and told myself that if he said anything again while I was on his side of the field I was going to stop play and give the sideline a warning.
Side note: this year recreational coaches have the authority to give coaches cards (yellow and red). The state made this change to be inline with the schools. I like that change!
So he did it and I blew my whistle so hard, I almost broke an ear drum! I found the coach on the side lines and in a very loud voice told him that if he didn't control his sideline I would have to give him a card. I walked away to start the game again and heard "HANS, SHUT UP!" behind me. I tried really hard to hide my smile.
I think what really got me was that he was using my name. One other coach did that to me during Spring soccer and I told myself I would never allow that to happen again because it really got under my nerve. It was person not professional. Funny thing was I didn't know the coach at all, he just remembered my name from our pre-game hand shake. I've reffed games where the coach on the sidelines was a personal friend and they called me "ref" and I called them "coach" like it should be. Why? Because that is the role we are out there playing.
I take the name of "Mom" seriously and enjoy being called mom by my children. I remember finding a lost child once and asked him what his mom's name was and he replied, "mom". I thought "duh!" and she earned that title!