Problems weren't on my field

February 24, 2005
By TheRef
Apparently the weekend league is the one that's having the most problems (it's the one where I've been passing out the most cards) - and not just with me. Maybe it's because the weekday league's players are a little more tired from working, and the weekend players are a little more hyper. I don't know.

No real problems on the fields (one of the players who I did card for dissent last week was a little smarter and waited until after the game to say that a call sucked. When a game is 50 minutes long, one call is not going to change the tenor of a game, certainly not that one. He wanted a foul for pushing - but he went down way too easy, the player wasn't even looking at him; simply put, it would have been a worse call to make than not make. He's going to be a fun one if there's a game where I make several calls against his wishes - but he doesn't understand that making those calls is the job of a referee; he doesn't understand that if everyone agreed, you wouldn't need a ref; he doesn't understand that just because he's louder, that others don't disagree with me either (they're just less obnoxious).

The interesting stuff was on the other field; the ref... well... The best words was his: "Man, if I was that big, I'd be embarrassed to complain as much as he does!" This was the guy that knocked a keeper out cold a few weeks ago; and has been insisting that he doesn't stand out to referees (he's wrong - we all know of him; the only ones who don't haven't reffed him before, but will remember forever once they get him). Apparently he was encouraging people to complain to a referee if they didn't understand a call. Not disagree, but just didn't know what the call is. Ish. Read More »

Simple rule of soccer: if you want to keep playing, don't say "Fuck You" to the ref

February 20, 2005
By TheRef
Tossed out two red cards this morning, for two different reasons. I feel good about both of them, although in a perfect world there would have been three; I'm doubtful they could have been prevented, and in the second one, pretty much did all I could to, short of withholding a righteous card.

The first one happened with about fifteen minute left in the second half (out of a 25-minute period), and shows the inherent weakness of a single-referee system. That being, nobody watches our back. The game was a "B" level, and was pretty mellow; a couple fouls either way, but nothing of serious consequence, nothing that indicated that people were pissed. Well, the goalkeeper picked up a ball, and threw it down-field. Right before the throw, an opponent tried to block the throw, but nothing happened out of it; and the ball was quickly in the offensive third of the keeper's team (small fields strike again!). I brought my attention toward the new center of play, when I heard shouting behind me - turning, I saw the striker bringing down his fist from above his head, downward into the keeper's face. I'm unsure if it connected or not, but it really didn't matter. Whistle screaming, I sprinted between the two red card in hand, and immediately sending off the striker (and if you're fluent in soccer, there is no attempt at a pun, even if it is appropriate).

You know, for a team that just had a player sent off, they were incredibly well behaved. Read More »

I don't get poor winners

February 18, 2005
By TheRef
I did my three game set the other day, and have been trying to think of something: why are some people such poor winners. The game was pretty straight forward: the red team pretty much dominated the white team, yet they were the poorer behaved team, both on and off the field. When the field was crowded or the competition tight, they played fine and with great skill. But when the pace slowed, or there was a one-on-one, they resorted to hacking and manhandling. I don't get it, because it was tactically unnecessary: why, where they would clean the clocks of their opponents in tight spaces, result to going below the belt on one-on-ones (oh, they were faster, too!). It was also emotionally unnecessary: they won by four, and didn't need to push it like they were.

They also went after me, after the game. I awarded one card to them, for persistent infringement; them having instituted defense-by-foul. They should be celebrating, but they decided to complain instead - maybe this is their fun - I don't know. The other team didn't have the opportunity to do much fouling!

I just don't get it. Read More »

Pleasant games continue

February 15, 2005
By TheRef
It's awfully hard to write about stuff when games go well... no complaints from me, that means nothing to vent over.

After a week off, I went back to the indoor facility I've done most of the winter (the with four-yard-wide goals), and things just went well. The only game where there was problem was one involving a team that I've reffed three or four times this winter already; I'm not sure why I keep getting them - they're a marvelous team to watch, very pretty soccer soccer, but they just out-class everyone they've played. I'm looking forward to when they play a higher-level team, to see if they keep composed, but it doesn't look like that'll happen until playoffs. Take this week: they were missing a few players, including their goalkeeper - so they borrowed a woman to play, who clearly had never played keep before. She had decent foot skills, but nothing with the hands. But it didn't matter - despite the glaring weakness, the opposition never had a chance to test the keep. And this with one player working on three hours sleep.

The ongoing issue with this team is frustration... usually of their opponents (although one of their women has a tendency to grab shirts of men who beat her, and yes, I've carded her for it; and another who complains about calls that don't go his way, even when the end result of the game is not in question). Sometimes, especially the women in these games, assume hard playing equals rough playing. A couple of their players got themselves hurt blocking blistering shots that knocked them over, and out came the complaints that I was letting them play rough. The odd things is, baring the shirt puller I mentioned above, they don't - they're very much a finesse team - but they have incredible legs and woe be the person that gets in front of a shot they just fired. As a referee, there are several things I can do to discourage rough play, but I'm not going to discourage players from shooting, at least in early on in the game (I have, in the passed, made a couple comments to teams about running up the score, especially when the other team is visibly cantankerous, and when the league doesn't measure goal differential).

Yes, there is a good argument that this team shouldn't play in that league, but in a higher one (this is the highest we have here, though); I'm looking forward to seeing if the perennial powers give them a challenge in another month. Read More »

Something good in the water

February 10, 2005
By TheRef
There are times when you think someone spiked the water, or the full-moon theory is true, because every game has one or more players who just go nuts and make your job much more difficult than it should be. Their overly aggressive, argumentative, and all too often, totally ignorant of what they just did, have done, or are about to do.

This was not one of those nights. Someone might have spiked the water, though, because the games were just so gosh-darned mellow. It was weird; things just went into place without my having to anything. When there was a player who I worried might be going over the edge, he just stopped... without be asked to by me, an opponent, or teammate - usually the intensity level regressed back away from borderline.

It was just odd. Makes you wonder if it's the calm before the storm. Yes, I'm a cynic, but then again, I know this league too well - there is bound to be a player that'll go totally psycho in the next few weeks. Read More »

Attitude Transformation

February 7, 2005
By TheRef
I didn't get a chance in my last entry, mostly because it didn't fit,
to use one of the more interesting comments I had in that set of games.
I blew the whistle for a foul (I don't recall what it was - it wasn't
terribly malicious or even important), and a woman says to me, "Yeah, a
little after the fact." My response was simple: "I can't call it before
the fact!"

You know, if I was a really mean person, I should have blown my whistle
and called her for a foul, and when she complained, say I was doing
what she wanted, that my psychic powers was telling me she was about to
foul. But I'll just have to settle for being bemused instead of sending
a game into the toilet Read More »

Revenge! Revenge! Revenge!

February 4, 2005
By TheRef
I say "revenge" that somewhat tongue-in-cheek, because I certainly
don't look for that going into a game - but after I found out what I
found out after the game it made a whole heckuva lot of sense.

What happened? Four yellows, two reds, a third would-be red written up, and a terminated game.

The reason? The team was made up of High School coaches, playing
exactly like they coach: whine whine whine! It was actually more than
that: it was whine whine whine over one single call! It's amazing!

The game was fine, but then I had to make a judgment call over the
toughest rule in the league: the slide tackle rule. Read More »

You're a soccer player, Charlie Brown!

February 2, 2005
By TheRef
You remember, when reading Peanuts, when Charlie Brown fatefully
stepped up to the pitchers mound, only to get his clothing and shoes
knocked off? This kept going through my head, when it happened to a
woman today (my fiancé, in fact!): she blocked a shot in the gut... and
her shoe popped off! I'm not talking the "I didn't tie it right fling"
that you see with U-Littles - she took a shot, point-blank in the gut,
and *pop* off came her shoe. She didn't get knocked over, her legs
didn't jerk around - it was just like there was a spring on the bottom
of her foot that sent the shoe flying.

The vibrations! The vibrations!

I was very surprised in one game when I didn't need to pull out any
cards. One of the teams in that game is very very good - they all have
to at least have been division one college players (although they look
young enough to still be), and have been playing together for a long
time. Pretty soccer to watch - diving headers and all; but I thought
their opponents might start getting frustrated. They actually scored
the first goal, but then gave up the next eight; the final score was
10-2, and it could have been higher. I mean, one nutmeg is
understandable, but they were running a clinic on burning your
opponents out there. The other team was getting frustrated in the first
half, but were fine in the second. There was a team I used to play
against, that we knew we'd have no chance against whatsoever; we played
for our own goals: not to give up more than ten goals a half - maybe
they did the same.

On the final game of the night, I did book a player - I wasn't sure if
I wanted to do it or not, but his attitude sealed the deal. He brought
his leg up high and got a woman solid - but it was, in my mind at
least, a definite foul and borderline card. But he starts whining about
the call, totally unrepentant, totally uninterested in the crumpled up
person next to him. If referees are allowed a few seconds leeway to
determine if there's an advantage or no, I say we also have a few
seconds to determine if the player understands the seriousness of his
foul or not. Not getting it? Let me give you a little help, this
special "clue" card comes in two colors, have the yellow one. Read More »