My assistant ref debut

Is 48 too late to debut in yellow? I guess not. I was the AR2 for two U14 boys tournament games this morning.

Everyone there was a little shaken at the outset because, in the preceding game, a girl fell and apparently broke her wrist in a visibly gruesome way. I made a point of not looking too closely, but her screams were terrifying. The refs (including two who carried over to my game) called off the rest of the game — they had little choice because paramedics had to come onto the field, and they understandably took a bit of time to stabilize before carting her away. I’d never seen an injury like that.

But we went on with the schedule, and I was in the next two games. Here’s what ran through my mind …

1. What the hell? White vs. Gray? And I’m staring into the sun? Yeah, I’m glad I have prescription sunglasses, but holy cow.

2. No offside calls to make yet, but I have quite clearly bungled my first two possession calls. Which way is White going again? Wow, they didn’t train us to make these calls.

3. Phew — OK, an offside call. Had a clear view, and the ref was already set to blow the whistle when I put up the flag.

4. Could we please get these guys off the sideline? I’m going to plow into one of them pretty soon.

5. OK, halftime. And this has been one-way traffic. Should be an easy second half.

6. OK, end of the game. Yeah, that was an easy second half.

7. Yes, coach, I know, we need to get on with it. Did you see or hear the girl with the broken wrist? We’re a few minutes behind. (I didn’t *say* this. At least not like that.)

8. White vs. Purple. This’ll be much easier.

9. Yikes. Two own goals for Purple in a couple of minutes. This could get ugly. And I’ll probably be busy in the second half.

10. (wheeze) yeah …. (pant) … I’m pretty busy in the second half. That dude in White is a master at taking off right when the ball is played, and the center is taking a good look at me every time he gets the ball.

11. Seriously, dude, would you back off from the sideline? I know you’re all warming up for the next game six inches behind me and all, but seriously? I’ve asked you three times.

12. Certainly sounds like an exciting game behind me. Do … not … turn … around. Purple’s going right-to-left, so if they play it out, raise the flag with the right arm for a White throw. And vice versa.

13. Phew! Made it through two games without a major incident. No one made a fuss when I was quite clearly fumbling my way through those first five minutes or failing to outsprint a through ball in the last 20.

I found I had to keep repeating to myself which team was going which direction and reminding myself which way to point if the ball went out. “White, right” was my mantra when the White team was going right-to-left.

And the center — only 25 but clearly experienced — reminded me that my priority is offside, not possession on the touch line. I can try to watch both, but I simply cannot take my eyes all the way off that second-to-last defender.

So I have a lot more to learn. But I enjoyed it. And everyone was congenial, which helped.

Next assignment will likely be a U9 rec game. Gotta read up on the buildout lines.

Your turn, Taylor Twellman.


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