I guess my assistant ref didn’t have the guts to tell me in person. He managed to break my AR flag! I got it back in pieces from their coach and I wanted to ask him some questions. How did he signal me after he finished my flag and how did he snap it in the first place? I blamed his lousy team’s performance (4-0 behind in 20 mins) and droppped the case.
There simply was no time to reconstruct the story. I just accepted the 3 pieces and decided to withdraw in my locker room. But on opening the door, I was blown away by an extreme odor of sweaty feet. The locker room was big enough to host a football squad but there were only two guys using it. My apparent colleague wasn’t present so I couldn’t ask him to remove his socks and shoes. The only option was to keep the door open while taking my 10 minute break.
The game ended in 5-0 and I now also got my other flag back. More break-downs were about to happen though: the digital game admin system this time, and I decided to finish it at home after having received sign-offs from both coaches. That proved to be another hurdle as the Dutch FA changed the remote digital access (without telling us). I had to spend more time to find ‘rescue game docs’, fill them in, send them off by email. To be called by the FA on Monday why I didn’t fill in the digital paperwork. I told them honestly I had a severe ‘break-down-day’.
In hindsight, I should have started much earlier. I reached my career ceiling since I’ve hit the 50 year age bracket. And now it’s too late. Too late for a serious career at least, but still plenty of time to have fun doing it! On grass, on sand and indoors.
I still remember a slow Saturday afternoon, some 20 years back, when I watched a local football match go wrong because the referee just stood there in the middle, mainly signalling in and out-balls and copying his assistants’ calls for off-side. That should be done better, I thought, but was too busy with my career. Years later, when we moved to another town, I decided to pick up my fav sport and first became U12 coach.
Two years later I decided to go for the Dutch ref badge and start reffing on weekends instead. Another switch was made last year after having had several tricky games with adults. I’m now working mainly U18 and U16 games. Mostly as stand-alone ref, but play-offs happen with 3 neutral refs, thank goodness. I envy the US refs who always work with a ref trio. Something I did for 4 half seasons while living in New Jersey.
This passed season 2013/14 produced one major game incident that shook my ref constitution. A collective fight out of the blue between the teams resulted in a temporarily suspended game. Reports written from various parties produced a heavy penalty on which both teams appealed and the appeal court sentenced a lower penalty because not all reports could be proven.
I’m still enthusiastic and driven to give my best and report back when things are not according to the rules of the game.