Soccer is an agonizing mix of athleticism & mental toughness, amazing effort & silly dramas, hopeful coaches & helpful parents, rules and freedoms overseen by ref & linesmen.
Our Summerland boys played against bigger, older, more experienced teams and the boys did themselves proud as a group of improved players.
First game, first play, Connor made a courageous rush to catch the ball against a big, agressive striker and took a cleat to the inner thigh. If the ref called that cleat to the thigh, a red card would have gone to their best player and the game would have remained nil nil, their best player gone, our goalie injured. Instead, that ref rewards the play, their goal stands while our injured goalie can only try to stand.
Also against a team of older, bigger, rougher players, Joe perseveres to score a beauty with an exceptional effort and the wonder of that moment is taken away by an off side call. No cleat, no injury, no fallen player…just a linesman that decided to negate the young guys effort.
One ref tells our team before the game that soccer is a contact sport, and shoulder to shoulder is fair play, and “play on” is how it will be.
Another game, another ref, decides part way thru his game he needs to be important, he wants to be a big part of the game…so he calls a foul on Joe because Joe happens to be running toward an oppostion player that trips on his own ball.
That is soccer! One ref chooses a non call on an agressive play that leaves a boy injured on the ground, and both boys are amazed that no call was made. A different ref chooses a total intervention call on a zero contact play, and both boys are left wondering why the whistle was even blown.
Both calls completely dictate the play for that game…and that is soccer, an agonizing mix of rules and freedoms!
For my part, I would much rather our boys learn to suck it up… yes it was an agressive, intimidating play, but… “play on”… a non call is my preference, by far.
What I (and Don Cherry, too) cannot stomach is the ref that needs to insert himself into the flow of a game, all of a sudden, just that NEEDFUL effort at “being important, too!”
And, there it is, a call that should NOT be made is made…by an important person…at the expense of all the effort of the players, on both teams. Suddenly, you realize well and good, that ref is important, too. Because he makes the call, he is important, too, that needful ref.
It was a great weekend, thanks for your excellent effort, boys!