Friday, October 31, 2008

Working with my Assignor...or not

For the first time, my assignor was going to be one of the referees on my crew. I've met him a couple of times, although our meetings have been at tournaments where he was working and one of my sons was playing. This was to be the first time I had spent any substantial time with him. We were assigned to two girls games, ages 14 and 15...and he didn't show up. Actually, he assigned someone else to take his spot. That was kind of a disappointment. I was looking forward to working with him. Too bad.
I ended up doing the U-15 girls game. OK, technically it was a U-16 girls game. Apparently, the league combines the age group when there aren't many teams. We had one U-15 team and one U-16 team. The game went pretty well. These are not very skilled teams. In fact, it is sort of unusual to have high school age players playing in the Fall season. I work at this club often and the games are always enthusiastically played, for sure. The players and coaches are pleasant so its a pleasure to work this club's games.
There wasn't much in the way of difficult calls or ugly challenges. I issued one caution when a player decided to recklessly charge another player just after the ball had gone. She knew she was getting the caution the minute I blew the whistle. Interestingly enough, she was bordering on a persistent infringement caution later in the game. I gave her a stern verbal reminder of the first caution and she seemed to cool off a bit for the rest of the game.
At one point, I had two players trying to occupy the same space, about 30 yards out from the goal. They were both running after the ball and got their feet tangled up. I didn't see any foul play. However, when the players went down, one of the girls sort of shouted in pain and seemed to grab her leg. Thinking she was seriously injured, I stopped play right away. Apparently, she was just frustrated about going to the ground. By the Laws of the Game, the restart is a dropped ball. Needless to say, I got quite a few questions about that one after the game. In hindsight, my whistle was probably a little premature, but I was looking out for player safety so I don't feel too bad about it. It is just another example of how a referee can be well within the laws, but casual observers can think you are a nit wit. I think its important to realize that much referee criticism comes from not only an ignorance of the Laws, but also the lack of communication beyond the players on the field. I did say to the players something like "We stopped because I thought one of the players was injured so we will restart with a dropped ball."
Fox Sonik Whistle
I bought a new whistle. I have a hand full of whistles in my bag. There are a couple of Fox 40 classic's in there (you do have a Fox 40, right?), a Fox Pearl, an Acme Tornado, an Acme T2000 and now, a Fox Sonik.
The Fox 40 classic seems to be the standard whistle for soccer referees. It is a pea-less whistle, meaning it doesn't have that little cork ball rolling around inside. I'm told the pea can be a real problem in cold weather. The classic is loud and piercing and works well on the soccer field. the Fox Pearl is one of my favorites because it is similar to the classic, but has a lower pitch. This comes in handy when you are close to another field. The players can differentiate between your whistle and your colleague's on the next field.
I haven't used the Acme whistles too many times. They are similar to the Fox whistles, but I need to try them a few more times to have an opinion.
Every time I need to order some new referee item, I pick up another whistle. I saw the Sonik on the website, so I ordered it. It is kind of expensive, so I had high expectations. The Fox website claims the Sonik produces up to 125 decibels of sound and is recommended for "large arenas." It's a 4 chamber whistle, as opposed to the other Fox whistles which are 2 chamber. By comparison, the Pearl is described with a maximum of 90 decibels and the classic is at 115 decibels.
I used the Sonik this weekend. One of my AR's told me he was not impressed with the whistle's sound power. From my end, it sounded about as loud and shrill as the classic, but my colleague said he thought a classic was better. So there you go. If you are going to get a Sonik, be aware of this potential problem. Honestly, I think the Sonik merely requires just a bit more wind to get it to produce maximum volume. Perhaps another game with the whistle is in order.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For most matches and conditions, I like the Acme Tornado Original. It's an L-shaped whistle that feels good in my hand (I use a wrist lanyard). It sounds different enough from a Fox 40. The only problem I find with it is on very windy days it's often not powerful enough. So then I use an Acme Tornado 2000. That gets plenty loud, but it just doesn't feel very comfortable in my hand. But I think every referee should have at least 2 different-sounding whistles in the bag.