Game 35, 2017-18
It's Valentine's Day and I have a date after dark, somewhere in the woods, with 22 younger women. Kick-off is 8pm. Mrs RT is not happy, but it's nothing to do with the younger women. I'm recovering from a heavy cold and she thinks I'm an idiot for going out to run around in temperatures just below the point of freezing.
|Hot chocolate and |
She's probably right (she usually is), but I go anyway. It's not that I wouldn't rather stay at home in the warmth, eating the rest of last night's stew and watching Real v PSG. But once I've accepted a game, I hate to turn it back for any reason. The referees' assignors hate you doing that even more, and I completely understand their point of view. As a coach, I hate players crying off late with weak excuses, but they do it all the time. If this was a coaching rather than a refereeing blog I'd write a list here of all the best ones, while weeping and wondering why people ever bother volunteering for anything at all.
I like the home club - they're one of the few places to always give you a warm welcome and hand you a bottle of water without you having to ask. The key-grip to the referee's changing room looks like a murder weapon, but you never know when that might come in useful too. I sit down to get changed and am suddenly worried by a thought that hits me way too late. What if Mrs RT had come home tonight and been hoping to find candles, chocolates, cards and a three-course meal on the dining room table? The Full Valentine's Bollocks.
We did come to an agreement when we first met 23 years ago that neither of us was interested in all that crap. In fact on our very first Valentine's Day she more or less dumped me (the old-fashioned