A couple of weeks ago, my husband finished up his third year as a football referee for a local association. He works at local high school and youth games. He truly loves doing it and I could never not support something that makes him happy. The truth of the matter is, I kind of dig him doing it too.
Ed loves sports. He played sports growing up, and continues to participate in some local rec leagues for various other sports. It is part of his hard wiring. He has an amazing mind for stats and dates and teams and all that. I have become much more of a sports fan than I ever was thanks to him. So, I can see that the desire to participate as an official is somewhat natural. Had we had children, I have no doubt that he would have coached on some level.
It is pretty cool to watch him as a referee. He knows what he is doing. It makes me proud to see him have such command of the field. Granted, he is not alone out there, he is part of a crew, but he has such confidence. There is truly something about seeing the person that you love really take pride and have joy in something that they do. Not to mention, it is exciting every week to see where he will be scheduled and who is on his crew. I have met a few of the other officials but I hear so much about them, I feel like I know them. There is a great deal of camaraderie in officiating.
When my oldest nephew played football, and we still sat in the stands with the other parents/family, we would overhear the people around us complaining about a call. Everything is always blamed on the refs. They would always assume that the refs come from the town of the opposing team. When the truth is, they just didn’t know the rules. Now, I am a little more defensive because one of those refs is mine. Refs are human and at times calls are wrong. After all they are human, but they take a great deal of time learning the rules. Rule changes happen every year, they have meetings and discussions about these things. They take tests that they have to pass. Officials take these things seriously. I have corrected people on FB, who were complaining about the refs in their kids youth game. I guess when in doubt blame the zebras.
One thing that I can assure you is that the referee’s do not hold a grudge against your team or city or your kids for that matter. These men truly take pride in their performance as an official. And they love the game.
So, Ed is packing up his ref bag, and hanging is uniforms in the back of the closet for the season. I am sure that he will not miss the sore muscles from running, or the rainy, muddy fields. But I do know that he will miss reffing. And I will just a bit too.
Don’t hate on the stripes, folks! They are a necessary part of the game. Zebras are people too!