Just... not ready

August 31, 2009
By TheRef
OK - I haven't reffed in two weeks. I banged up my knee pretty good and only started exercising on it again earlier in the week. I turned down the U19 boys state cup final, saying that while I'd love to do it, I don't think that's the game we want to test out my knee on. It sucks, but I try to be honest and do what's best for the game, even if it means taking me off of it.

So my "test" game was a first division women's game. Unlike the men's leagues, where there's a "rec" (and do those quotes need to be there - see my dozens of entries about that topic) and a competitive league; the women have just one league with a rec division. Although, even with highly competitive college teams (playing unofficially, of course) - it's a much lighter atmosphere than what you'd see in a NCAA game. For the most part, and all three of noted this, we really didn't have to be there.

But while I got through the ninety minutes unscathed, I'm sorry to report that my knee is still not ready. I'm not sure much is psychological and how much is physical, but I kept "feeling" my knee as I ran - it didn't hurt, but it didn't feel right, either - more unstable than anything. I stayed in position, but my attention was torn between the game and keeping myself in one piece (there were several ankle-buster-type holes, and those easily translate upwards.

I think I need at least another week or two off for it to firm up. Which means I'll be back in pre-season form by the end of the season. Blech. Read More »

Is soccer really basketball?

August 11, 2009
By TheRef
The title is a bit misleading, I know. But it's not about popularity, but instead height. And I'm kicking myself because I meant to bring back the program from the professional game I saw, but I didn't so instead of having a nice little list of players and their heights, I just have to recall from memory and ignore the specifics.

And the memory is this: since when was being six feet tall or taller a prerequisite for playing the professional game? These two teams, with 18+ guys on each roster (the program being printed well ahead of time had players not on the game-day roster included), there were only two people who were under six feet in height - and neither of them by more than an inch.

Short entry, I know - but it seems apropos. I used to think soccer was great because anyone could play it, and anyone could "make it". You could work on improving your skill, your running, and your strategy and as long as you had the speed and skill you could have your shot. Apparently not. Maybe I've just been deluding myself all these years, Tino Lettieri "The Roman Pony" (his nickname when I saw him in the NASL) was six feet tall when he played in the 1970s and 80s. I always assumed he was short, but six-feet is awfully big for a pony. Read More »