Friday, March 26, 2010

The Angry Ref - "You Like Me. You Really Like Me. Don’t You?"

Have you been reading this?  Are you taking this advice to heart?  I think maybe you might be because I haven’t had much to write about lately.  I’ll be honest, a lot of my previous columns have been drawn from experiences early in my refereeing career.  In an unguarded moment you may even catch me admitting that some of my frustrations were related to being new.  But I’d never admit that here.

Besides, if you look back most of what makes The Angry Ref angry is when players focus more on being clever than on playing rugby and that has little to do with my previous newness.  So many of you divide your focus in such an inexplicable way.  Imagine if you focused solely on the game?  Imagine the heights to which you could rise.  Are you imagining it?  Can you see yourself using that cleverness to figure out how to play to what the ref is or isn’t calling and exploiting it to your advantage rather than running around whining?  I can see it.  It’s beautiful

But I think you are seeing it my dear player/reader/disciple.  I think you’re reading and learning and incorporating because over the past few weeks you haven’t given me much to work with in terms of writing material.  Aside from a couple minor incidents you’re good behavior is threatening to send me off into the great beyond.  I have to say I’m a little dismayed.  But perhaps it means I’ve served my purpose.  Perhaps I’ll need to morph into The Happy Ref and write columns applauding your sportsmanship.
 
On the other hand there’s always another American Football player joining the ranks so I’m sure I won’t want for anecdotes for too much longer.  There’s also the guy I ran into a couple weeks back.  This gentleman fell over trying to gather a loose ball. No harm there as there was no one else nearby.  Having the freedom to play the ball he rolled towards himself and the opponent’s try line prompting the following exchange,
 
“Tweet. Knock forward, we’ll have a scrum to white.”
“Really?”
“Yes.”
“Really?”
(Look of reproach and warning from yours truly.)
“REA-lly?”
(Ignoring player setting the scrum.)
“REALLY?!” (Throws ball to ground)
“Tweet.” Signal dissent. “Back ten.”
 
You see players, even little knock-ons are still knock-ons.  They’re knocks at the beginning of the game.  They’re knocks at the end of the game.  They’re knocks in the scrum and they’re knocks in the ruck.  They’re knocks at midfield.  They’re knocks near the try line.  A knock is a knock my friends and if you argue you can go from a scrum to back ten real quick.  Asking once is a question.  Asking twice is an annoyance.  Asking three times is dissent.  Asking four times (and if you’ve gotten past three the ref is showing great restraint) is not just dissent it’s showing a man up.  For that you’ll be lucky to get off with just a penalty.
 
Hey, the blood’s pumping.  I’m feeling better about all this now.  Maybe I’m not going to run out of material after all.

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