Saturday, July 22, 2006


Well I finally put my reffing license to use today. It was a 12 year old boys double-header. A friendly between two classics teams, one more-or-less local and the other from Tulsa. I called two offsides and one foul. the foul led to a direct kick and a goal. Other than that pretty uneventful... at least on the pitch.

The Tulsa parents were the biggest group of whiners known to man. It's actually funny to see these fat middle-aged parents get worked up about a meaningless 12-year-old soccer game. What's even more humerous are the accusations leveled at the referees. And of course the fatter and more unathletic the parent, the more they're living vicariously through their more athletic child, and consequently the more unbearably ignorant and loud they are. After all, if the kid "fails", then your offspring are possibly just as much an evolutionarily dead end as you are - and that's always hurt the pride to know.

After the game one of our other refs was going to tell a player from the Tulsa team that they had in fact been fouled, but that he'd called a play on because they had advantage. Instead, he heads over there and a parent (by which I mean a fat...loud...unathletic parent) barks "hey ref get away from our players! Haven't you screwed up enough already?" Then he points to me "And how many offsides calls was he going to miss? And they were clearly offsides!"

Now of course even in ref mode I'm not exactly non-confrontational. So I said sarcastically "Oh, clearly offsides, for sure." And he replies "Yeah clearly!" So I upped the ante - "Yes, oh yes, CLEARLY!" Then, so that we didn't continue this senseless dialogue I put it in perspective for him: "Now shut up." One of the other refs added "get a life". He was right. I had shown very clearly that I was new to this reffing business. Not only had I missed "get a life", but I'd also completely forgotten "and stop living vicariously through your kid."

Although "Now shut up, pipe down, get a life, and stop trying to live through your kid" is going to be practiced again and again until it's all but a liturgical rubric, I feel that I need to add some personal spice to it. But I can't fit it in so well yet. I guess I still need more practice at reffing. Somehow I want to convey to the parents both their pathetically unathletic and consequently unthreatening physique, but it's difficult. If I add "Aren't there some hot dogs you should be eating" I risk not only having to forfeit my new beraiting line, but if I say it after my line the most important part, ie. "shut up" might be lost in the larger barrage of insults. I need to pear it down somehow. Perhaps a little Wayne's World for insiders-only. Yunno, "fatstupidsaywhat?" But then I lose the satisfaction of the parent realizing how little I respect them and how much I'd love for them to try and physically confront me about it.

There's just so many hard choices...I need practice.


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