Sunday, September 9, 2007

Can You Ever Get It Right?

Even though I worked a tournament 2 weeks ago, I consider today's game to be my opening game of the Fall season. It was a U-12 game from a local premier girls league. I have to admit, when I received the assignment, I was a little intimidated because it was being played at a local ethnic club. I have had other referees tell me games can be tough at this site as the club members take their soccer very seriously. Not only that, but I was by myself on this one. That's right. No assistant referees!
The game turned out to be pretty uneventful. It was well played. There were very few fouls, although I did end up awarding a penalty kick for a pretty obvious deliberate handling foul. It was so obvious, the offending side didn't even complain about it!
We made it to within 2 minutes of the end of the game with everything going smoothly. The home team stripped the ball from the visitors around the halfway line, made a couple of good passes and put the ball in the net. Suddenly, I had the visiting team yelling about an "obvious offside" and a "handball" by the home team. The possible offside just wasn't there. Since I was by myself, I was watching that carefully. It just didn't happen. The last pass before the goal was a chip over the receiving player. It came down over her shoulder and landed in front of her. It is possible she handled it, but I certainly didn't see it and I was a lot closer than any of the coaches, so I don't believe it happened.
The lesson I learned from this game is you will always have someone complain about something you did, or didn't call, in your games. I don't think it is possible to get through a game without complaining from one side, the other, or both. The next game referee was there when I came off the field. I asked him if he noticed anything and he said he did not. He's far more experienced than me so I trust his input. He said you cannot call things you do not see. He pointed out you cannot look at everything on the field at one time, so it is possible, in fact likely, that you will miss things on the field. You can't worry about it. I think that's good advice.

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