I am living with 2 newly qualified soccer referees. Sorry, that’s football referees….. The General and his sister Bookworm have done the training and now have about 5 weeks refereeing under their respective belts. Honestly, it’s like sharing a house with former smokers, or newly converted Catholics, or lifetime Weight Watchers members – they are zealous and fanatical about their new skill and not afraid to show it. I took them to see a Soceroos match – they ignored Harry Kewell (well, to be honest he didnt’ play that well) and focussed on the man in the middle, the Black & White, the ref…. For the record, they thought he did a pretty good job…..
They both play football as well as referee so gone are the vague generalised complaints of ‘oh that ref was hopeless’ as they leave the field. Oh no, their complaints are now much more specific. “Mum, did you see in the first half when the ref awarded a free kick for such-and-such an offence when clearly it should have been a red card?” Or, “I can’t believe that ref missed so many offside calls – doesn’t he know he needs to KEEP UP WITH THE PLAY?”. Dear reader, I can say ‘he’ with considerable confidence as there are still very few female refs in our particular neck of the suburban woods.
Then there’s the juggling each weekend. Can I just say here and now that unless you have 2 drivers and at least 2 vehicles in your family (and I don’t) it’s not a good idea to let 2 of your kids take this on? We have to have a full on tactical plan for each weekend (well, technically I only do every second weekend, but ‘each weekend’ sounds so much better) so that we can fit in 3 playing games (oh yes, there’s a 3rd child dear reader, he’s just too young to ref yet!) and then upwards of 6 or 7 refereeing appointments AND manage to eat lunch both days as well. It’s done wonders for my organisational and time management skills.
Actually, it’s been great for the kids as well. They are learning some independence – “no, I can’t pick you up right now I’m still driving your sister to her game, just wait there”; earning some money (even if it doesn’t get paid until the end of the season); and developing their self confidence – after all, they ARE the ones with the whistle.