Monday, October 5, 2009

New Club In Town

OK, the new club is not in my town, but my assignor does have a new club as of the Spring.  Actually, he has 2 new clubs!  My older son and I put in for games this weekend but we only received one, at this new club.  In talking to a few friends, I have heard this club can be a tough place to do a game.  The coaches have a reputation for being mouthy as do the parents.
Early Sunday morning, I got a call from my assignor telling me that our 3rd referee has not responded to his assignments.  The assignor went on to tell me that this guy, if he shows up, is not to work the game and I am to tell him that.  Great.  First, I don't understand guys that put in for games and don't follow through with their commitment.  I realize bad things happen sometimes, and I know this assignor will certainly forgive any legitimate excuse, but how do you just ignore assignments?  This guy won't be working for this assignor anymore.
So my son and I get to the game a little early.  We had never been to this field, so we left a little earlier than required just in case we couldn't find it.  It turned out to be easy to find.  (An aside:  car GPS units are the greatest thing ever invented!)  We checked the field and do a couple of laps to warm up.  My son points out that, while the home team has been at the field since we arrived, there is no sign of an opposing team.  That can't be good.  It turns out, they got confused and went to another field at another club.  Fortunately, that field was on the way to the correct field.  They arrived about 15 minutes after the game start, well inside the leagues 30 minute grace period.
Just as we start the game I realize I never asked a parent to run the sideline for the missing AR.  This isn't that big of a deal because, to be honest, I'm not convinced a club linesman is worth the effort.  Even if you instruct them to not show direction or offside, they inevitably try to do it anyway.  Naturally, this leads to ill will went you wave them down and show a different direction.  This was a lower level U-13 boys game on a relatively small field, so I felt pretty good about being able to do it myself anyway.
Oddly enough, about 10 minutes or so into the game, the home team coaches started giving my AR a hard time about his offside calls.  You might have guessed we'd have problems on the no AR side of the field.  Nope.  It seems the home team was trying an offside trap, but not timing it very well.  I kept making eye contact with my son with that questioning look ("Are you sure they weren't off?) and he gave me the subtle shake of the head ("No way.")  Good enough for me.  It became clear pretty quickly that what I had heard about this team was indeed true and that I'd have to start on my "Ask, Tell, Remove" routine.  At the next goal kick, I held play and walked to within about 15 yards of the bench.  I politely asked the coaches to "cool it" so we wouldn't have any problems.  One of the coaches started with "But you guys have already made 3 bad calls!"  I cut him off with "Coach, I will not be asking next time.  You coach your team and I'll referee the game."  Apparently it worked and they got the message, because I didn't hear anything at all from them for the rest of the game.
One thing that is tough when you don't have a certified AR on the touch line is watching for balls that cross the goal line momentarily.  Even if you have a club linesman, this is tough. You really don't want to take their input on this because it is a game changing decision.  I had one in this game.  The visiting keeper made the initial save on a very hard shot.  He bobbled the ball in the air right on the goal line.  I was maybe 15 yards out, but did not have a good angle to see if the ball had crossed the line.  Fortunately, during his juggling act, I noticed an instant where the ball was clearly behind the post, not next to it.  Goal!  In changing my diagonal, I had given up a little angle on the play and ended up behind the ball, rather than to one side.
It turned out to be a fun game.  The home team won by a good margin, but the visiting side had a few players that really could play the game well.  It was interesting to watch.

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