I owe it all to ‘Tom’

http://blogs.tampabay.com/.a/6a00d83451b05569e20115709c7070970b-200wi

Well, I got my home computer working again! (Yay!)  So, I’m back to tell more stories about the spring soccer season.

Here’s the coolest thing that’ s happened yet.

I was reffing a soccer tournament. It wasn’t a huge tournament, but there were lots of teams from our state and neighboring states, and I had about 11 games in one weekend.

The first day was good. I had only recently begun to get my bearings as a ref and this was the first real test. The first day was gorgeous, beautiful spring weather, not a cloud in the sky. Perfect for a South/Midwest area.

That Sunday, however, sucked ass. It was raining all day. It wasn’t c0ld, mostly, but still. It was awful. Rain, rain, rain.

I joked with parents on the sidelines that this was penance for the previous day. They all laughed and understood that they had the luxury of umbrellas, while I, the lowly ref, didn’t. Ah, well, at least it’s not cold. … Yet. I joked about how I was earning my pay today.

My first game was fine, but my second game — with the same referee team — didn’t go as well. I was on the side of the coaches and teams this time. The game was a blowout with a score of 5-0  at the half.

At halftime, the center ref said he had to go.  He had slipped in the mud and injured his knee. So, he called the ref assignor for the tournament and asked for a replacement. When none came, we went ahead and started the second half.

The center ref just kind of hobbled through the game as best he could. Then about halfway through the half, the ref assignor showed up in full ref gear. I told him the latest about the game and what had happened. They stopped the game and the assignor (whom I’ll call Tom) took over refereeing the game.

OK, for the record “Tom” is a badass. He’s a really nice guy, but he’s also a highly ranked referee and has reffed international games. He knows his stuff.

I was so excited to be reffing with him, I was making sure I did everything right. Not sure if I succeeded, but whatever.

Then Tom made a controversial call. He called a foul that some parents and players didn’t like. It all happened in the opposite side of the field, so I had no idea what was going on. Even worse (for me) was that the other AR was deaf. I’m sure it serves him well as an AR (not having to listen to obnoxious parents) but I had no idea what was said. Argh.

Tom was telling the parents to shut up.  I was standing at the center line and there was a kid waiting to be subbed in. I said, “Is that your dad?” (talking about the parent about to be chucked from the tourney) he said, “No, but this has happened before with the same ref.” I said, “Tom won’t put up with any nonsense.”

So, Tom said something to the coach about handling the parents. The coach shrugged and said, “It was a bad call.”

Holy crap!

So Tom threw out the parent, then another parent after that! OMG.

One of the parents, a big, fat redneck, walked across the field (yes, cut across the field in the middle of the game) and shook the coach’s hand. Then he walked by me and said, “He’s an idiot!”

I said, “He’s the boss.”

“He’s still an idiot!”

Sidebar: When I said ‘he’s the boss’ I wasn’t just saying he was the boss of this field. I was also saying he was the boss of the tournament,but the redneck didn’t understand that.

Siedebar No. 2: This guy was obviously a guy who didn’t like any0ne else to get the last word.

The rest of the game went on, and Tom’s phone was ringing off the hook on the sidelines. When I met him in the center of the field, I said, “Someone’s blowing up your phone.” He said, “Yeah, there was probably someone complaining about a ref, and that ref was me.”

We walked to the sideline and Tom went over to the offending coach. I don’t know what he said, but I assume it was about controlling his parents.  Then I noticed the coach was going nuts. He was screaming at Tom to “Go away! Just leave us alone!”

Oh, hell. I ran over there and stood behind Tom with arms crossed over my chest. They told us in class to back each other up, so I did. He started yelling at me to leave, too. Nope. I was prepared to intervene if necessary. Oh, I’m such a badass.

The coach was all fired up, started yelling “You always do this to us!”

Apparently, the coach believed that Tom had it out for this team. Since then I’ve heard that that team is always pretty obnoxious.

The coach was waving his umbrella at Tom. I was thinking, “Oh, please, make contact so you can go to jail. Please! Please!”

I was surprised to see Tom lose his cool. “It’s because of people like you that I can’t keep refs!”

Aw, hell  yeah!

Nothing happened that would warrant an arrest, but I was so excited I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to ask the other AR what happened, but he didn’t know. He was deaf. Damn!

Later, I related that story to someone who had known Tom for a long time and knew that he was cop in his day job. The person told me that Tom had arrested a player on the field once! Awesome.

I’ve since come to know “Tom” as a really nice guy and a dude who is very good to new refs. I like him a lot. My assignor/instructor friend thinks I’m hot for Tom, but that’s not true at all. He’s a good guy who helps out new refs, and I appreciate that.

It was a great learning experience. Lots of refs are afraid to kick out parents. I’m all for it. Tom’s example has shown me that you (as a ref) don’t need to take that nonsense. I still don’t know what was said to Tom, but I know that I won’t tolerate any silliness from parents. And I learned that from Tom.

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