Games 19-21, 2020-21
I lost a lot of sleep last weekend because of the theatrical scenes that followed the penalty awards in the two games I refereed. I woke up in the night and started replaying the scenes in my head, several times over. It didn't help. Through Wednesday I wasn't much fun to be around (even less than usual) - I was tired and irritable, while wondering how bad my refereeing must be if it causes such extreme emotions in so many people. If you're thinking, "Jesus Christ, mate, it's just amateur football, don't let it get to you," then I concede that you are completely in the right.
What also retrospectively bothered me was the health danger - players coming up close and screaming in my face in the COVID-19 era. I didn't even think about it at the time, although I was instinctively backing off and demanding they keep their distance. The leagues where this happened in Sunday's game - to the south of the city - have in the meantime been suspended. Which on one level is a shame, but in the case of the home team that couldn't accept a clear decision that went against them, I can't help but think: tough shit, lads, but it's no bad thing you were sat at home all afternoon yesterday glaring at the walls.
In my city, games are still on for now, despite soaring Corona stats. This past weekend, I made a simple speech before the Friday and Saturday games. "If a single player comes and screams anywhere close to my face, I'm ending the game and fucking off home. Is that clear?" Everyone nodded, some even applauded, and best of all - it worked. Friday's game (men) drew a single yellow card