My route to becoming a referee is a slightly unusual one given that I have never played the game or been involved with a club in any way. This always raises an eyebrow in the clubhouse after a match when players are chatting to you and they realise how new I am to the game! What attracted me was the responsibility and challenge that comes with overseeing a complicated game which is extremely physical, and the need to make so many judgement calls to keep play flowing while ensuring it is fair and safe, and finally I wanted something to keep me fit.
Over my first two seasons I’ve had a great experience. The challenge was everything I was looking for and more than I expected. The need for fitness, even at the lower levels that I referee at is a great motivator to stay fit and healthy, The respect and humour of the players is beyond anything I could have imagined, and the support of fellow referees and coaches has been amazing.
At my age (over 50) I do not massively ambitious targets as a referee. My goals are simple ones: keep learning about the game and the work of a referee, keep turning up so that 30 people can get out on a Saturday and play a great sport, keep fit, and keep taking my place in what is the best seat in the ground.
The society has been a huge help to me. So many individuals have committed time to explaining subtleties of our craft (of which there are so, so many) and turning up to watch and advise me. The best piece of advice I’ve had: Take things seriously, but not too seriously – if you are not out there enjoying yourself, you are doing it wrong.