Monday, April 23, 2007

Knowledge Can Be a Bad Thing

This weekend, I had no assignments. I did a very high-level match around mid-week. I was the Assistant Referee (AR) for my assignor. That was quite an adventure, but I'll write about that story another time. Both my sons had games this weekend, so I was fortunate to have the time to attend both. My older son's game is the one that put me in a situation to see something appalling.
We arrived at my son's away game with time to spare. We received a pleasant surprise when we realized a female friend of his was playing before his game. We don't often get to see her play, so it was a nice opportunity. She plays for a premier-level U-13 team, so most of her games are good to watch.
As I was watching the game, I could not help but look at the game officials and I noticed some really disappointing things. First, as I walked to the field, I observed that both of the ARs did not have their shirts tucked in. That really bothered me as I have been instructed to always show up to the field looking neat and professional. Coincidentally, my father taught me the same thing.
As I watched, it got worse. The 2 AR's clearly didn't even want to be there. Their demeanor on the touch line suggested they were completely bored and the teams were lucky to have them there. It was a real shame. To be honest, I was embarrassed to be a referee. The thing that pushed me over the edge happened next. The AR on my side actually flipped open his cell phone and put it to his ear for about about a minute. I could not believe what I was seeing! He proceeded to do it again about 5 minutes later. I thought I'd seen everything, until my son pointed out that the opposite AR didn't even have a badge on his uniform.
It was unfortunate to watch. It was like a train wreck where you can't look away. I'm not sure I would have noticed the poor performance of the AR's (who turned out to be the sons of the center referee, by the way) before I was certified. OK, I would have noticed the cell phone during the match.
The entire event reminded me that, in spite of what you may be thinking, people are watching the officials and they notice professionalism, or the lack of it! The little things are important, if you want to be taken seriously. Be sure your uniform is in order. Make sure your mechanics on the field are professional. Most importantly, take all your games seriously. The players worked hard to prepare for the match, so the officials should do the best job they can too!

1 comment:

Giancarlo said...

I have to say, I have never in the 20 years I have been refereeing had one open a cell phone in the middle of the game. Had that happen, I might have done one of two things:
1. Snatch the phone from his hand and said, "He'll call you back."
2. Dismissed him immediately. A bad AR is worse then no AR.

I would have made them tuck their shirts in beforehand. If they gave me slack, then I would have said, "If you look like a slob, you will be treated like one."