I got a desperate call this morning: could I referee a nine-year-old soccer match Tuesday evening?
Youth referees are jamming referee schedulers’ phone lines and overloading their email systems in a stampede to cancel out on refereeing assignments they’d accepted for Tuesday evening. Matches normally handled by 13-to-15-year-old refs are now being offered to adults, who were already in scarce supply.
It seems there’s a Justin Bieber concert at the arena, and the young refs with tickets have just discovered their conflict.
Alas, I’m already booked to referee 17-year-old boys, which I’ve mentioned before on several occasions could be basically a battle scene from Braveheart with a ball tossed into the middle of the melee. But I digress.
I also raised with the official who called me, what about the teams playing that night? I’m thinking that 17-year-old boys may not be a Bieber crowd, but younger players across the city will likely have concert tickets. Won’t there be teams short of players, maybe even facing the prospect of forfeiting out of playoff contention for the city finals?
Silly me, I’ve only been involved in youth soccer since 1996 -- we all know the likelihood of WYSA’s rescheduling matches because of conflicting events. If you can’t get a game switched because of Yom Kippur...
Meanwhile, parents whose kids play Tuesday evening, and whose kids don’t have Bieber tickets, bring along a whistle and some running shoes -- the teams may turn to the crowd to find a ref.