Caution (not the booking)

October 30, 2008
By TheRef
My schedule before my last game was thus: the day before was the gym with my trainer, the next day the game, followed by a day off, then another center for a city high school team.

I felt a slight twinge in my knee the day of my game, but nothing serious, did the game and had no problems (as you see in the previous entry). The next day the twinge was worse, and by the end of the work day, still nothing serious, but I definitely didn't want to risk it.

It's the long way of saying I pulled out my scheduled game so I could evaluate my knee. The odd thing is that the twinge is only in certain positions - my guess is that it didn't like something I did at the gym. Read More »

Oh, geez - it's high school season again

October 20, 2008
By TheRef
A quick warning and recap for those who just joined us. I dislike working high school soccer games - sometimes I outright detest them, and you will hear be complaining about it a lot. So why do them, you may well ask? Easy: if you're not good enough and/or lucky enough to work colleges games, they're the only competitive option available. If you like working recreational games of U14 and below (mostly U10 and below), you're fine - but if you want any type of competitive game, this is it. You take it, and take the aggravation that comes with it (usually it's rude parents, obnoxious and ignorant coaches, and an unsupportive infrastructure) - or you don't work. Frequently, I opt for the later.

I do love to do games in the city; it's been my observation that the closer to the city-center you are, the more pleasant the games are. The more suburban, the ruder and nastier the adults, and if you have two suburbs of equal distance, but one is a red district and one is a blue, the red's are meaner every time. I have no empirical evidence of this, only my own experiences - but I stand by my own observations at least as how they apply to my own history.

I'd love to do more city games, but most of the time I just can't - last year they started all their games at 4:30 pm, which took me totally out of the picture; but today's game was at 6pm - which I was easily able to do - and, it was a nice, pleasant game with no cards, no controversy, and well mannered people of all ages. It was still very much a high school boys game: extremely narrow field, and the sole strategy for both sides was to dump the ball as far down field as possible once the defense collected the ball - but that's the same as most of the high school boys teams around here, anyway.

The good humor won't last, though. Read More »

Another minor change

October 13, 2008
By TheRef
It's an assumption, yes - but the timing is a little bit suspect. It looks like the guy who prompted me to enable comment moderation has decided to spambomb my refblog email account. So, for the time being, I've disabled the account. If you want to have a comment made privately, please specify it as so at the top of any comment made on the site. I'll keep it from being posted on the board and reply back with another, non-published, account. Read More »

I didn't expect that center

October 11, 2008
By TheRef
I went into the day expecting a line, expecting to work with two guys I've known for a while, and ended up working with two completely different men, on a completely different game, and in the middle. Part of it was because we're in the playoffs, and because the actual scheduling was done last minute, as it wasn't known until the last minute which teams would be playing. And even though I was there an hour early, and the assignor was already there, I didn't actually find this out until 20 minutes before the scheduled game time.

That's a very short time to mentally prep myself - and I do prep myself differently between a line and a center, especially a men's playoff game! This was followed by the guy who thought he was to be the center (who only showed up five minutes to game-time), being really pissed that he didn't have the middle as the thought... and he made damn sure to bring up a waived-down flag he disagreed with up to the (surprise) assessor. But I'm at the stage in my career where, while I want to do the best games I can, and enjoy the high-pressure matches (of which, sadly, this really didn't count - it was a rather low-key blowout), I really care less what others think. I do my job, I try to do it well - and at the risk of injecting a bit of ego into this, I do it better than most other people (and probably would over a guy who shows up five minutes before kickoff). This isn't to say there are people who are better than I am - there sure are! There's a reason I don't work higher-up games than I do - and I'm OK with admitting that, too. But it's hard not to question someone when they show up that late, and act like it's perfectly normal and OK.

Beyond that, the game was pretty easy. There was an early card (like three minutes in), for a guy trying to distract another player shooting - the sudden yell just as the guy's about to connect. So that was one. A second one came in the early second half on a really hard challenge - even his own players were telling him they could see the card (he didn't, of course).

The third caution was by the other team, and was one of sheer frustration: they went from being down 2-1 at halftime to down 5-1 in the 90th minute, and he just grabbed shirt and pulled - not caring who saw him. I got a small earful about calling it both ways, to which I replied, "Hey, I'm looking at my book here, and the other teams got twice as many cautions as you have; if I'm not calling it both ways, I think you got the better end."

Actually, I didn't get a lot of guff for my calls during the game. It was all pretty straight forward, even if I wasn't mentally prepped for it. Read More »

Well, that one didn't happen

October 1, 2008
By TheRef
I was looking forward to this game for a couple of reasons - first, it was another division 1 men's game. I went from one last year, to four this year, plus lines. Considering how often I've been available (not as much as in the past), and that I'm still a seven (and will be for a long time), that's great.

I also wanted to work this game because of the pitch. It's another of the next-generation field-turf-style fields that's become very popular in high schools over the last few years - except this one is soccer-specific. Not just soccer-specific, soccer-only - no gridiron lines, and the turf selection was selected for soccer, unlike the schools where pointy-ball gets the priority. I wanted to know if the soccer-specific turf was any different than the other stuff I've been on.

But I got a call while on my way that the game was canceled, and one of the teams forfeited. Bummer. So, and since I won't be doing a ton of high school games this year, although I will do some, I might as well pick up with my usual fall/winter refrain: I went to the gym. I sweated. A lot. ;-) Read More »