Sunday, May 27, 2007

More Experience = More Confidence

I got myself scheduled for one day of a local tournament. This particular assignor that I work with has been a little more conservative with my assignments. I often get line assignments from him. In fact, I get very few center assignments.
He called me for the tournament. I was assigned 4 short sided games in the morning. He also told me that he would like me to come by referee headquarters to "pick up the slack" for officials that might be injured or sick.
The thing about tournaments that makes them tough is the super-tight scheduling. This particular tournament allowed for 5 minutes between games and 5 minute half times. Since I was scheduled for short sided games in the morning, by myself, I knew it would be a real struggle to get food and water as required. Also, its a little stressful because you only have those 5 minutes to deal with the administrative part of the job. Since there are so many games scheduled, it is critical games start on time. A few delayed games, and you could have a field that is 40 minutes behind by the end of the day. I think I've probably stated this before, but one must be persistent with coaches to have them get their teams on the field when the match is supposed to start. I had an experienced referee tell me to just start my watch at the appointed time, whether the teams are on the field or not.
As I worked through my first four games, something occurred to me. I'm getting better at this! I feel more confident! The experience I've been getting has been paying off. I actually had a coach tell me I called a really good game...and his team had lost!
On a side note, I actually had a parent say something kind of nasty to me during the game. I should clarify, it was a U-8 game. Unbelievable! There are all kinds. Interestingly enough, one of the coaches walked over to the parents side of the field and made it clear the parents were not to say anything to me! Way to go coach! Also, the club representative for the parent with the mouth apologized to me after the game on behalf of his club. Classy. I have additional respect for that club.
Something occurred to me while I was working the small side games. I love being a referee for the little ones. I've had some opportunities to do some older kids games. Most of them go well, but some games are tough. The players can be difficult and the coaches and parents can be worse. For the most part, the little ones just want to have fun. They want to learn the game. They count on the referee to teach, as well as officiate. If the older games get you down, schedule yourself for a few small sided games.
I reported to referee headquarters as requested. I had a couple of cold drinks and spoke with my assignor for 10 minutes or so. A call came in from one of the tournament locations that a referee needed a replacement (It was very hot today, over 90 degrees). Off I went to the new location. I subbed in immediately for the ill official and completed that game. I did one more game with this crew as an assistant, and then they asked me to be the referee for the last game. Apparently, the referee in the center when I arrived had been in the center almost all day! I ended up doing a U-13 girls game. It was a great game and I think I did a real good job. I effectively dealt with a few nasty parents and called a very good game. OK, it wasn't the most challenging game ever, but the experience is paying off and I'm getting better with every game.
Next week, I'm scheduled to do a large, 2-day tournament in the area. I'm looking forward to it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I heard one time at a U-8 game that both parent sides were telling the kids to "break the other teams legs, get that ball back!" The ref stopped the game and told both parent sides to leave the field. They of course complained to the ref tent and when the ref was questioned by the organizer he was just as appalled and told him he did the right thing. Some "parents" huh?