On the death of a fellow referee – Rodric Leerling

On the death of a fellow referee – Rodric Leerling

Football refereeing brings together people of different backgrounds and personalities. We all share a similar passion which creates a bond. One of our friends has gone last week. A farewell. We regularly joined cars to help referee football tournaments and laughed about similar situations we had to deal with sometimes. And now he is gone, his life ending at 71, and surprisingly enough, he was ok with that. Despite being totally wrecked by cancer, he accepted his latest death sentence as part of life. It had given him precious time to prepare his funeral and other material things.

Despite the previous good news about the disease being beaten, he had recently received bad news again. The lethal opponent had returned and this time the doctor told him there was no hope. He’d better start preparing for the end.

We visited him with two other refs some weeks ago. Basically to say goodbye, but we didn’t realise it at that time. He was so optimistic but still candid about his situation. Thankful for his life of 71 years and the time allowed to say goodbye to his loved-ones. I offered to accompany him to see one more game at the start of the new season and he said he’d love to.

Then I received an email from him three months ago. Whether I could help translate his self-written verse into English, to be published on his mourning card.  I set myself to it  immediately, and returned a text the same day. He was grateful for my translation and we said again goodbye on email.  It was the last time I would hear from him.

Thanks ref for your many years of refereeing games and tournaments, indoor and outdoor. Thanks for your candor, gratefulness, big laughter and optimism till the very last minute. The final whistle has blown for you now. Someone else decided it’s game over.
We pray and wish your wife and children strength to deal with your passing. You are dearly missed.

Enjoy the life you get,
it only lasts a while.
Laugh at everything and forget,

as time goes fast, 
and is soon past.
Everyone knows, no regret.


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