Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

More soccer parent drama

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Sorry to have taken such a long break. It’s been a crazy month. But I’ve had a few interesting games recently, so I have lots to write about.

Last week, I was on vacation from my day job and my night job, so I was able to ref a game or two a little farther from home. I agreed to do two high school games in a small town a bit far from home. The first game was a girls’ game, which was pretty uneventful. I was the AR on the parents’ side, and the other two refs were pretty good.

When it came time for the boys’ game, we thought for sure the home team was going to pound this rural high school from even farther away. We were so wrong.

The game started out rough. Thirty seconds into the game, the center ref had to warn a player on the home team for playing too aggressively. The whole game was rough, and I was surprised there weren’t more fouls called.

The visiting parents were near me, and they were pretty cool. There were only three of them, and they cheered their hearts out. They were laughing and having a good time joking with me occasionally. The home parents were another story.

Ten minutes before the end of the game, I made a fatal mistake. I called a foul in the penalty box. I thought it was blatant, and the center later told me he agreed with me. But the truth is, he should have called it and not me. But I was closer, so I figured it had to be called.

The center ran over and discussed it with me and agreed it was a blatant foul in the box, so there must be a penalty kick. The keeper tried to argue with me — “Ma’am, he slipped!” I didn’t want him to start arguing, so I said “Knock it off.” Someone said, “What was the call?” and someone else said, “Nothing … bitch.”

I didn’t hear it, but the center did, and he turned ar0und and gave him a red card. The kid was arguing with him, and he almost couldn’t get him off the field. They walked over to the coach and explained it to him, then he came back and explained it to me. “I know he was directing that to you,” he said. “Of course,” I said, “I’m the only one with a vagina.”

Well, the parents didn’t know what happened, so they thought the red card was for the foul. From one side of the stands (the home side) I heard, “You can’t give a red card without a yellow first!” And from the other side, “That’s not true, you idiot!”

After the game (away team won 4-2, including a goal from the penalty kick), as an away player was cheering for his team, a home parent walked to the side of the field and said, “Congratulations! You had the refs on your side!” The player said, “No we didn’t! We won fair and square!”

I said I really wanted to get out of there but I couldn’t because I couldn’t find my teenage son, who was hanging out during the game. I had to walk in front of the parents to get his stuff and I overheard one of the parents saying, “Yeah, SHE called the foul that got the red card.” Oh shit.

I found the guy who was running the clock, who walked around with me, and he asked about the call, I made sure to say somewhat loudly, “It wasn’t the foul that got the card, it was his mouth.”

God, I really hate teenage boys and soccer parents.

High school soccer

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started reffing high school soccer, and it’s great. I love it, and it pays more, so I can’t complain about that.

So far, it’s been pretty interesting. I worked every day last week, with two games one night.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I had games at the same school — boys on Tuesday, then girls on Wednesday. This is a school that only pays for two refs for JV games, so I was only needed for the first game on Tuesday. After the game, which was pretty uneventful, I sat in the stands with a friend of mine who was watching her nephew play.

While we were watching and talking, one of the players on the visiting team went down. He hurt his knee so badly, the ambulance had to drive onto the field to get him out of there. We later heard his knee was turned all the way around to the side. Poor kid. He was apparently a big shot on his school’s cross country team, too.

Soccer is a violent game, and I’m a believer in calling very few fouls, but I hate to see anyone get hurt. First, because it hurts; but mostly because it keeps him or her from playing the sports that they love.

At the girls’ game the next day, it was pretty hot and muggy. Probably not super-hot, but the coaches wanted to take water breaks anyway. This is a school that has found itself in trouble for not being careful enough in the heat, so they’re extra-careful now. Fine with me. I like to be very hydrated.

At half-time in the first game, a girl got overheated and had to be rushed off the field to an ice-water bath. It made me worry because if it hadn’t been for half-time or us taking water breaks, she might have kept on playing and dropped on the field.

Heat stroke can kill you pretty fast, and I think a lot of kids don’t realize that until someone dies. Football is in the headlines the most because the players seem to be most susceptible (summer practice, helmets, etc.), but if you drink sodas all day then run around at top speed 0n a soccer field, you’re going to get yourself into trouble.

The girl was OK, and no ambulance was needed, but the coach joked with me afterward that she got an eyeful because they had to take her into the boys’ locker room and the football players were still in there.

Soccer season is back!

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And boy, am I in the thick of it.

I have a game every night this week, and two tomorrow night. Mind you, I’m not complaining. I love every single game (almost), and the weather here has been awesome, so I can’t complain about that, either.

I’m getting ready to start a night job next week, so that will cut into my reffing time, but I need the money, so I had to do it.

So, my stories are forthcoming, I just have to have a minute to sit still and collect my thoughts.

My biggest challenge this season is high school. The games themselves are fine, it’s getting to them that is rough. I live in a city that has pockets of nasty traffic. So, when a game is at 5:30 p.m., I have to haul ass from work to make it to a game on time. And I haven’t been really successful so far. One time I even went to the wrong school, then had to book it across town during rush hour to make it. Luckily, the AD was friendly and joked with me about it, but I still felt awful.

That game was a girls varsity game, and it was very one-sided. I think the final score was 8-1. The visiting team scored a goal in the first minute. But the coolest part was when the home team scored its only goal. The ball was near the goal, but they just couldn’t get it in. They all ended up on the ground, some inside the goal and some out. I was actually worried someone would slap it in with her hands, but that didn’t happen. After a few second of struggling, the ball slowly rolled across the line and I threw my flag up and yelled, “It’s in!” and the girls all jumped up and screamed, “It’s in! It’s in!” I wanted so badly to celebrate with them. I love an underdog.

Summer is a soccer wasteland!

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I never knew summer was downtime for soccer! Argh!

Around here, youth soccer is only played in the spring and summer,  so that leaves me with nothing to do except wait. Blah!

There are some adult league games, but apparently, my assignor doesn’t think I’m good enough or experienced enough to ref those games, so whatever.

I did enjoy the USA vs. Brazil Confederations Cup final — right up to the second half, when it all went to hell. My friends and I watched it at a local Irish bar, which was great fun because people were excited about the game. Whenever USA would score, we all went crazy, hugged, high-fived, etc. In the second half, when Brazil suddenly came alive and USA went straight to the crapper, we drowned our sorrows. (Well, I didn’t because I’m broke — no games to ref — and I was headed to the gym afterward, but whatever.

I’m saying “whatever” a lot today. I’m just in that kind of mood.

I do, however, want to marry and have babies with Tim Howard, the USA goalie. His goal-stopping ability is downright sexy!

But there was one controversial non-goal that the refs thought he stopped but he didn’t.  Howard hit the ball, it bounced on the crossbar then bounced out. But Howard (and the ball) were well inside the goal, which should have given Brazil a point. I imagine those refs got a good talking-to after that game.  If USA would have won by only one goal, the Brazilians would have gone completely nuts, and they’d be right.

As for marrying Howard,  I’m too late (not to mention too old, ahem) because he’s already married. Whatever.

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Soccer, Latin-style

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In my town, we have an adult men’s Latino soccer league. There are about 36 teams, most of which consist of Latinos. There are also  some Africans and Croatians. Some whiteys play in the leagues, but they had better be really good. I mean, really, really good!

The Latino league has probably the best players I’ve seen in person. These guys take it very seriously, and they don’t let rookie referees into this league for obvious reasons. Fights break out all the time.

My assignor and instructor friend is in charge of the referees for this league, so a couple weeks ago, I went out to the park on a Sunday and watched some games with him.

He told me some things about the league. They don’t like women referees, for one. He uses women refs, but only those that he knows can handle it. They also like for ARs to be involved in the game, and they don’t like the advantage call.

I hung out and watched a game between a Mexican team and a Honduran team, and these guys were killing each other. There were 11 cards issued in the game, only two of which were red, surprisingly. Before I got there, there were several fights in the first half.

Later in the day, one of the refs scheduled to be an AR called in and said he couldn’t make it, and my assignor asked me to take a game! Sure! So, I ran to my car to get my gear, changed in the bathroom and took the game.

On the way out onto the field, I asked the center for some advice. “If you show any weakness, they’ll eat you alive,” he said. Oh, boy. “If you make an offside call, stick to it.”

It’s a good thing I understand the offside rule because I had to call about 15 offsides in the first half. For some reason, this team just loved to be offside. Maybe they were testing me, I don’t know. But by the end of the first half, the other team would just look at me and raise their hand as if to signal it themselves. There were a couple of close ones that I didn’t call, and the other team would just stop and not chase them, thinking it should have been an offside. Not a good idea, since the other team would just pound the ball into the goal.

The second half was much easier, since it was a one-sided blow-out. That means the ball is mostly at the other end of the field in the second half.

This was my first game reffing for a full 90 minutes — in 90 degree weather, no less! Yikes!And I was completely unprepared for reffing because I didn’t bring enough water.

After the game, one of the losing players walked by me and said, “Thank you, good game.” I nearly fainted with joy. My assignor later told me he was probably just trying to talk to me. Whatever. I’m going to say it was because I did a good job!