Tell me again why I do this?

I like to spend time before a solid weekend of refereeing to read up on soccer news, referee chatter and generally turn off the "tech" side of my brain and turn on the "referee" side. Ok, so the sides part is in no way meant to mean the Left Brain and Right Brain; rather, it's meant to say that I have to put a different set of rules and guidelines into active circulation. I change the pace of my decision making, I turn in to much more of a manager/politician and I also get up to a more heightened state of consciousness.

During my sifting and sorting on the web, I stumbled on to this post. It basically is a laundry list of outrageous assaults on referees all over the world - from Africa to Canada - and all age groups (including a 13-year-old girl!). It's just downright depressing. A good chuck of my refereeing C.V. is made up of games where I volunteered. That's right, I gave freely of my time to help kids play soccer and for me to learn. I think it was a fair deal, but the level of abuse that came with it was legendary. Ask me some time why we don't keep standings at the U10 level for my local rec-league.

Over the years, as I've moved up to higher level games, the conduct of coaches and players and fans has also changed. The polarity is greater. Rather than a constant level of griping/nice folks there's a HUGE swing. From threats of bodily harm to very nice kids that wished me "happy mother's day". (I'm not even a mom.)

Anyway, tonight I will do a match at almost the highest level I can hope to reach. I'll be running the line on a NCAA Division 1 match with a Number 1-ranked team. It don't get much better than that. I've been obsessing all week - reviewing Laws, keeping fit, (mostly) eating right and now it's time to go get suited up. Standing under those lights and being a part of that game will remind me why I do this - it's fun and I get one of the best seats in the house. I will be challenged both mentally and physically and I will strive to do my very best. I will not be perfect, but I will give it everything. There are few things left in this world that coax this level of dedication and performance out of me - and tonight I get to do it again.

We're people, folks. We will make mistakes. But you know, it's only a game. No one's going to get killed if something goes wrong. Or maybe not. Peace. And good soccer.

No comments: