The rookie ref this weekend wasn’t that young. In fact, he told me he had been serving several football clubs as club referee and now wanted to join the Dutch FA. He needed more challenge and variation in this assigned games.
We sat in his dressing room and had a chat. I noticed his corpulent posture, his shirt holding things up. He smiled at me and told me it was ok. He was working on his body shape and he even had a mental coach. I just smiled back and thought ‘we will see about that, mate’. Oh, and I should also know that his condition wasn’t that great as he picked up a slight cold recently and therefore couldn’t run that fast. Aha, you came prepared my friend. Well, me too.
The admin procedure was tough at this low level adult game. Players arriving late and just laughing at the serious ref. It slowed everything down and we also had to walk a bit to the furthest pitch. While he was waiting for the teams to arrive, he just did some stretching in the middle. No goal net checking and I had to point out the practice goals still sitting on the edge of both sides of the field.
It was an easy game, and the ref showed experience in registering fouls and correcting players. But he took the game too much as ‘a walk in the park’ basically walking around the pitch with a few short runs in between to try to catch up with the change of direction. I could almost hear him panting. Noticed his belly bouncing and realized this was not what we expect from a rookie ref.
I told him so during half-time. He should keep away no longer than 15m from the game action and get closer once a foul was committed. Not just pointing to the spot and walk away! Also notice a change of direction and anticipate by starting a run. Not just walk away and hope you can still see things from a distance. It didn’t change his MO much.
We had a closing chat while walking back to his dressing room. He was content with his performance. If only he hadn’t picked up this slight cold. I just smiled and thought of the reports he could expect after finishing his ref course. He might wish he could return to the club referee status.