Calling the Game

By , Byron, MN
The wind from the cooling breeze was rolling swiftly across the ground as the sun was slowly rising. It was an early morning on the field, and the increasing temperature slowly baked away the mildew from the stiff frost grass. Game play was in motion, and sweat poured from the players faces, as would the running of a creek in the rush of spring. Time raced off the clock, and each minute was an opportunity to win. The black and white soccer ball bounced from foot to foot. It was kicked, punted, and passed like a scrambling dancer with hot feet. In a splint of a second the ball found its way into a cluster of madness when one player was tripped, another was in an illegal position, but blocked from view, and an unknown team player’s hand has appeared to make a foul by touching the ball in the goal area. Through the whole chaotic adventure, the ball found it’s way to land promptly in the goal. The crowd broke out in hysteria, coaches are arguing, and the pressure of deciding how the game advances is up to me, the referee.

For four years I have been a certified state of Minnesota soccer referee official. With time I have worked my way up each baby step to higher levels of authority. For the duration I have worked on the soccer field I have witnessed countless bizarre fortune of events occur, and truthfully some I have been the cause of. Whether it was making the wrong call, missing a foul, or accidently mixing up laws of the sport, I am not the most precise game judge.
Being a referee is not an easy job, and does not come with ease, as would the phrase, “born a natural”. In my eyes refereeing is a test of confidence and leadership structure. It trains you do deal with hectic situations and use problem solving to determine a resolution in the quickest time possible. It teaches the importance of image through being direct and confident with yourself and your decisions. It’s not the simplest task as a 17 year old to explain to an ill-tempered coach twice my age that my whistle is the one that calls the outcome of the game. I know every time I blow my whistle to make a point of new direction that I am only 50% right on my call. One team will agree with my call and the other won’t. But by being a soccer referee I am responsible to be 100% confident in my decisions and stand firm to them.
Through my experience of being a soccer referee I have not just developed a keen eye in the sport, but I have also noticed a change in myself. The job has transposed me to be better built and prepared for the outside world. I have a greater understanding of how to make compromises with people of different perspectives and viewpoints. I have also gained knowledge of working with people of diverse cultures, and how their aspects on “the ways of the game” can be contrasting to others. These factors have driven me towards a position where I can adequately participate in the role of a leader in society.
My most prized lesson from being a soccer referee is truly discovering the meaning of life does not come without failure. In the experience I described earlier, I was inattentive and made the call to be a goal. In reality I should have fouled the trip and even carded the handball inside the goal area. My mistakes may have led to disaster, but without them I would be without success. I attempt to make my decisions to everyday the best that they can be, and that I call the game, on and off the field, with complete confidence.





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