Some say that "the only things worth doing, are difficult." It's true, being a referee is not easy. It takes preparation, focus, mental and physical toughness. That's also why it's rewarding and gratifying. Here are some of the reasons why I love being a ref:
- Mental Focus - I love that it takes 100% of my concentration to be a referee. For 2 hours straight, my entire mind is focused on the match in front of me. Sometimes, a little on the coaches and spectators, but mostly, the beautiful game of football. It is a release. I lose myself in the moment and enjoy the excitement and energy of the play around me. I can forget about any stress in my professional full time job and simply enjoy the moment and be fully present.
- Mental Challenge - Being a ref is hard mentally. You have to be firm, but not unapproachable. You are often making unpopular decisions which can cause people to be upset with you in almost every single game. Learning how to apply the laws of the game within the spirit of the game and then dealing with those who disagree with you takes years of practice and it still will leave people thinking you are the "worst ref ever". It keeps me humble and helps me to appreciate the professionals who do this on TV.
- Service to my community - I consider reffing to be a form of payback. For all of the referees in our area who came before me who created an environment that my son and I could fall madly in love with the game. Having a good ref can make all the difference between enjoying your day on the pitch and absolutely hating it.
- Encourage other people to sign up - I love being a ref and I want other people to enjoy it to. It has dramatically shaped me as a spectator and lover of the game. My presence on the sideline of my sons games has helped other fans modulate their reactions and seek understand rather than lash out at a ref for one call or another. We are creating a better environment for all. Additionally, we are in dire need of refs. If people see me out there (48 yrs old, kids, local, etc.) maybe they will sign up too?
- Love of the game - I LOVE the beautiful game. I want to watch it, play it, ref it every single day. Being a ref allows me to be in the middle of all of the action. I get to participate and experience matches like few other people can. Watching a highly technical team dissect a midfield with a slide rule pass is a beautiful thing from the stands, but it is even more impressive on the pitch seeing what they are seeing.
There are so many reasons to love being a ref!