Monday, November 10, 2008

Under the Lights

I only managed one game this week. With the marathon training, I can't really do a day's worth of games after having run long distance. My assignor sent out a request for Friday night availability, so I jumped on it, along with my older son.
On most of the weekends I'm doing league games, we get an odd number of assignments, meaning they cannot be split evenly among the crew. Most of the crews I work with are happy to split the money evenly and they use a game of chance to pick who is doing the middle (We usually draw pieces of paper with numbers written on them). Lately, I have not had much luck in this regard. I've been doing quite a few sidelines. In fact, it is so obvious, one guy I worked with 2 weeks ago insisted I do the middle because he noticed the luck of the draw had not gone my way in some time. It's all good though, as I take a lot of pride in being a good assistant.
The Friday night game was the first game I have done at night, under lights. I never realized that outdoor field lighting can be tough on a referee. Depending on the team's jersey colors, it can be tough picking out teams in the heat of action from 40 yards away. Be aware of that if you do a night game.
It had for a few days before this game, so the field was really wet. Going back to my earlier post regarding shoe selection, it became obvious to me why every referee should have a set of studded shoes in their car. This field was quite loose. For whatever reason, the line I was running had some significantly muddy areas. Without studded shoes, I would have been in big trouble. These teams (U-13 boys) where playing the ball up and down the field quickly so I was sprinting down the line a hand full of times. It would have been treacherous without some traction.
In regard to the game, it was a pretty good one. The teams were middle of the road skill-wise, but quite evenly matched, making the game hard fought and exciting. My colleague in the middle, who I have not worked with previously, was quite good and was a pleasure to work with.
We had two calls I thought were significant. The first was a trip in the penalty area, but it wasn't really a tough call. It was fairly obvious and the whistle and my flag went at the same time. No argument from either side here. I thought we demonstrated good team work and confidence in our decision. The other call was a little more interesting. The red team came free around half way with 2 attackers. The attacker with the ball was coming straight up the field about 5 yards to the left of the left goalpost. His team mate was coming up the center of the field. As they came into the penalty area, the attacker without the ball moved slightly ahead into an offside position. As the ball was passed to this team mate, a blue defender managed to sprint up in between them and toe the ball...into his own goal.
Arguably, I blew it. I popped my flag the second I saw the pass. The center waved me down and allowed the goal. I think I could argue this one both ways. In my opinion, the player was guilty of offside because they were interfering with an opponent. The Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game states:
"Interfering with an opponent" means...making a gesture or movement which...deceives or distracts an opponent
Running onto a ball in front of the goal seems to qualify as a movement that distracts an opponent. However, you might see it as the attacker not guilty of offside because they had not played the ball. It was an opinion matter and the center called it the way he saw it.

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