Things happen for a reason. I'm convinced of that. When I left for my first game as a soccer referee, the song that came on the radio was called "Islands in the Sun" and that's exactly what I felt like. I felt like I was going to be an island out there for all to see, for all to criticize, and it was going to happen underneath a blistering sun.
I had actually calmed down somewhat since the morning. I was ready for it to be over with, ready to get game number one under my belt and move on. I had been dreading the moment for months to be honest, and all the negative feelings were about to end.
When I arrived I spoke with the other referee and he talked up a storm. He told me all about officiating and some things clicked, things that I'd read about but not necessarily seen in person. But once the game was set to go, I felt a rock drop into my belly.
Game was on, though, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. Once it started though, my nerves settled down considerably. Here was the game before me, here were the teams and players and they were trying to play the game of soccer. They weren't trying to slash each other's throats like I feared, just trying to possess the ball, keep their shape, try to stay onside, make overlapping runs... pretty much everything you would expect from any soccer game anywhere in the world.
The first half came and went and my partner told me that I needed to blow my whistle louder. Somewhere late in the second half, I made a bad call. It wasn't necessarily the call that was bad, just that I didn't really sell it. This girl went in hard at another girl and took her out. She was frustrated and I blew my whistle hard. But then I didn't really point to where the ball should go and the teams were confused. Once I pointed to where I wanted the ball to go, the girls were really confused and one of the assistants started to get on my case. I blew the whistle again and made the girls take the re-start. The girl who committed the foul kept asking me what had happened and that she didn't do anything but I ignored her. I probably should have said something but I didn't know what the protocol is for that. Next time I'll tell the girl why I called the foul.
All in all, it went well. The speed of play was at a decent level but not as fast as I'm used to watching. I jsut need to get into the routine of calling fouls and blowing the whistle. Right now, I'm used to watching a foul and allowing another person to call it. But my mind has to work this way: contact-foul-whistle. I have to see the contact, determine whether it was a foul and blow my whistle.
Loud enough to be heard.
The best part about the day, though, was getting paid. I got a check for $64 before the game started so that was very nice. I'll take that.
As far as the fitness part of it, I enjoyed sprinting down the field when I had the chance. My workout stats were good in the first half (yes, I kept track of my heart rate!) as I believe I averaged somewhere in the 150s and got into the 170s. There was more walking around in the second half so it wasn't quite as strenuous. Overall though I burned more than 1200 calories so that's a good thing.
Anyway, you don't need to play taps or anything of the sort. I survived and I will live to blow my whistle another day.