Monday, February 4, 2013

blowhard

I took up the whistle yesterday for a couple of U12 matches.  It was a last second appointment and I hadn't had a chance to review the IRB laws so I was nervous. I tended to run slightly behind the attacking line instead of on it but I was pleased with my overall performance.  I was good about communicating clearly with the players so that I didn't need to use my whistle very much.  That was a good thing because the referee manager was watching the match and I could see him wincing every time I blew; apparently my ice hockey whistle wasn't up to his standards.  He is giving me a louder, shriller whistle for my next run on so we can thank him for bleeding ears in the future.

My initial nervousness was compounded when not even half an hour into the tournament a coach came storming up to the organizer and me, ranting about another referee.  I had observed some of the match and understood the coach's frustration but this didn't make me feel thrilled to be up next.  It was my experience as a coach that made me apprehensive about being a referee.  Some parents are completely out of control.  I should video record some of the pitch-side antics.  There is a woman whose son is a wing and she runs alongside him, screeching at the top of her lungs.  When he makes mistakes, she is right there next to him to wave her arms and yell at him or the referee.  Last year I was distracted while coaching a match when a parent on the other team started yelling at his "stupid" son.  If I had been the referee I would have stopped the match and sent that SoB away.

There is one particular group of parent coaches who can always be counted on to put on a show.  If the ref misses a call they will all start sighing and moaning like a Greek chorus.  They look ridiculous.  They position themselves around the pitch so that you can hear them at all times.  Most of the squawking is directed at the kids but they are good at spreading the love to everyone on the pitch. I try to be fair and clear so that it's not all noise and negativity for the kids.  I'm doing this because I love rugby and I hope that I can give back in a way that allows others to love the game also.

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