Friday, March 19, 2010

The Angry Ref - “You Wanna Go Old Man?”

Here’s the thing about reffing old boys: they think they know everything.  They also think nothing’s changed in the last 100 years.  Whenever it was that they played their best rugby is when they stopped reading the law book.  It’s like when my grandmother is shocked at the cost of something.   “What?  But when we cremated your grandfather it only cost $200.”  Yeah grandma, that was 1976.  Guess what old-timer, they allow lifting in the lineout now.  Sure, some old boys know their stuff.  I once reffed an old boys match wherein one of the players had been a more than adequate ref in his own right.  The problem was he was so quick with his tongue he made it look for all the world like he was calling the game and I was just following along.  Damn old boys.  Even when they do know what’s going they still make me look bad.  But the following experience is more typical.

A while back I was reffing an old boys match and boy were these old boys.  Not a single one could have been under fifty, and if they were then it shows what hard living will do to a man.  There was pissing and moaning the likes of which I’ve rarely seen.  During the match I had to hand out more than the usual number of yellow cards, which seemed to increase the grumbling to a dull and constant roar.
At one point coming to a line out with both sides playing shorthanded I’d reached my limit.  “The next person with a comment who isn’t the captain,” I warned, “gets a yellow.  This will continue as needed if we have to finish up playing sevens.”  Ah, finally I’d found my magic phrase.  For you see few are the old boys who want to play sevens.  Now I use that either in my old boys pre-game captains talk or the first time I have to admonish someone for an infraction.  It gets the point across and usually draws the elderly in line.
So, dear grandfatherly gentlemen, here’s this week’s lesson: If you want to avoid a coronary on the pitch, don’t bitch.


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