But I'm getting those emails and texts the day before a game, quite literally begging for referees. Phrases like, "Need help badly" and "I'm desperate" have been littering my inbox lately - and they're all for multiple games in different locations. And while I feel bad for the assignors, I'm not feeling all that bad for the schools. High School soccer has, over the years, has earned a special hatred in my heart. Years ago, the schools quashed a requested pay raise, but the abuse and crap kept increasing. Maybe the chicken has come home to roost, and people are realizing that despite the good pay, the crap just isn't worth it, then good. It certainly was for me - it's how I got into reffing roller derby (which I'm not paid for, but have found to enjoy much more than the high school bull$%!@). Now, the question is, if the referee shortage is actually here, what will the high school association do about it? Will they think there's just a shortage of people, or realize that an unsettling number of coaches are assholes (especially on, and I use the word deliberately, boy's games, that their mantra of that high school sports is "an extension of the classroom" is a hypocritical lie, and their failure to support officials has lead to this problem? Somehow, I doubt it. Read More »
It probably makes sense, since neither NCAA or NFHS actually does any kind of referee training. But, honestly, I stopped caring about it ages ago - I just brought it up because I occasionally get asked why I never do college games.
So the game was a full-length single referee affair. A women's rec-league where there really wasn't any issues. It was all very informal. One little issue, which (holy crap), the players understood, was a goal that they wanted an offside call. "I'm the first to admit that offside calls suck with a single referee, but here's what I saw and why I didn't call it..." I know I said this before, but they took my explanation at face value and moved on... and were even pleasant. On a different online forum, I'd make a comment about my head exploding.
The call itself was pretty simple, a striker was 3-4 yards from the goal line, then crossed it. The teammate that took the ball was ahead of the second-to-last defender, but behind the ball, and promptly scored in an open net. That kind of angle sucks for a single referee, but there it was, and I made a call, right or wrong (and it's the kind of call I've made consistently over my career when acting as a referee: if I can't see it, I can't call it). It also didn't matter all that much, the game ended 7-0, but it's nice to have a call like that, especially one that results in a goal, be respected for what it was. Even if it was only a rec league. Read More »
When we take a new referee, we tell them the chance of them skating for that first season in a bout is slim (we get about 3,500 paying customers per event). We still prep them for it, skate them in scrimmages so they can learn and prepare, but on bout-night they'd usually get non-skating roles. Last year we took three new referees; one of them shortly moved to San Jose, and the other two had only put on skates for a couple of months before tryouts. Don't get me wrong, that didn't bother me too much - it would be awesome to get people who were top notch skaters, but most of them go in for playing first - I'm a weirdo who wanted to ref first. But they both picked up skating and reffing very quickly.
Like a parent, I love my reflets equally (I coined the term to refer to myself when I was going through the training process myself), but there was one that just excelled. She had an excellent eye, became a very good skater, and I didn't have any problem putting her in bouts at the midway point of the season. And when it came to hosting WFTDA sanctioned bouts (which count for (inter)national rankings and tournament invitations) I felt comfortable inserting her into the lineup. It was a big deal to have her skate in a bout; even bigger for the sanctioned play (considering it was a safe assumption that both teams would, and did, go into the regional tournament).
But we had our annual tryouts, and she left to become a player. It's a shame from a ref standpoint, anyway (although I'm sure it's not for her or her new teammates). I said on a couple of occasions that she'd be reffing the crap out of us in a couple of years, she was picking up stuff so fast. This year, we've got another new crop of referees - I wonder who will stick around in this batch? Read More »