Monday, November 16, 2009

Interesting Tournament Experience

There's a pretty big tournament in this area that I've worked a couple of times.  The games are always competitive and the organization is decent.  This year, I didn't put in for it as both my sons were playing so we were quite busy.  A few days before the tournament, I get an email from the assignor.  The implication of the email was that he was short of referees and really needed more.  I sent him an email saying I could work the Sunday of the tournament if he put me at a particular facility (were my son was playing).  I got a reply within 10 minutes confirming I was assigned, so I guess he really was in need.
On Sunday, I arrive at the facility at the appointed time.  Most tournaments I work the assignor will send you your specific field assignment a few days before the tournament.  This assignor asks that you report at a specified time to a central location to get your assignments.  So there I was, standing in the crowd of referees while the names are read and officials leave for their field.  We get to the bottom of the list, and I don't have any assignments.  My name is on the list, but apparently they had a field closed and didn't need me at this facility.  Unbelievably, they ask me to go to another facility that's a few minutes drive away.  The guy standing in front of me is not the assignor I sent the email to explaining why I need to be at this facility, so I didn't make a big deal of it.
I jumped into my car and headed over to the other field.  These facilities are actually in the outer edges of a city and I don't know the area very well, so I made a wrong turn and it took me a little longer than I had hope.  I was getting a little frustrated.  I finally get to the facility, park and walk to the tournament headquarters, only to find out they don't need me until 9:20.  Yes, this day was just going down hill.
I reported to my field and met the referees I'd be working with.  I ended up doing 3 games on the field.  My first center was a U-18 girls game.  I ran a line on a U-15 boys game and then did the center for a U-15 boys semi-final match.
The U-18 girls game went fine.  There were really no issues to speak of.  The field was slick so we had some issues with players making tackles that could easily be perceived as reckless.  I had a few talks with some of the players to point this out and all went well.  Given the schedule, we really didn't have much time for a thorough pre-game talk.  I would have preferred to have one since I had never worked with any of these officials, but the "quick and dirty" version had to suffice.

During the game in which I was an AR, I made an observation.  The referee that had the center was definitely one of those "likes to pick fights" referees.  You know the type I mean.  It's the guy that doesn't know what "trifling" means.  Any player talking to him is either immediately cautioned for dissent or is given some kind of angry retort meant to intimidate.  It's too bad really, because he seems to be a pretty good official, just kind of mean.
Later in my 2nd game, I had a small issue with him.  During my pre-game with the players, one of the goalkeepers asked me to check the hat which they intended to wear on the field (the sun was shining in the direction of one of the goals).  It was one of those runner hats.  It didn't look unsafe in any way to me, so I allowed it.  About midway through the 2nd half of the game, the referee in questions start waving at me and pointing at his head and then at the goalkeeper.  Obviously, he was trying to indicate the goalkeeper's hat.  I yelled to him "Thank you, I inspected it earlier" to which he replied, loudly "OK, it's your decision, " clearly trying to imply that this was some sort of huge mistake.  I couldn't believe he had done that, but there it was.  Fortunately, I was in a pretty good mood and was able to forget about it almost immediately.  Looking back on it now, it's pretty annoying as he openly questioned my decision in front of players and perhaps the near-bench coaches.

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