The Wing and I

As mentioned in my last post, I was officially assigned my first games as a referee at Beast of the East 2013!! WAHOOOOOO! I had the most positive experience – more positive than I could’ve possibly imagined. I love rugby!

First, some non-rugby related reflections, then some rugby-related reflections.

  • I have a double watch tan (all the way), from wearing 2 watches and 0 sunscreen.
  • There was a “The Defense have to hold!” showing of defense in the Rutgers v Vassar game. Rutgers showed an impressive amount of grit and determination in their goalline D. (grrr I hate WordPress’ embed issues!)
  • Moment that made me smile: UVM women call their coach Master Chief.
  • My friends complimented my post-game Mulan bun style… which reminds me that I need to figure out a better hair-fix for games. New goal for the year: learn to braid your hair better, Em!
  • Thank you Jim Rogers for strategic assigning of games from Sat to Sunday!!

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In honor of Chelsea, the best backs captain I ever had, my rugby-related reflections:

3 things I did well:

  1. Fitness. Disregarding my very first game, I think I did well getting to the all the breakdowns and seeing more of the action. There’s still a lot of room for improvement but I could see the results getting better throughout the weekend as I made a more conscious effort to get my ass to each breakdown. Fullbacks and referees have WAY different roles on the pitch! Ha! The transition hasn’t been the smoothest, but it’s not awful. And I never failed to be there on breakaways (: Hence “The Wing and I” …one #15 said to me after she scored, with a surprised look on her face, “You kept up!”, and I thought, “of course I did! It’s my job.”
  2. Communicating with coaches/captains before and after the games to get feedback, and adjusting my goals/focus for the next game. Get ALL THE FEEDBACK!
  3. Kept my composure/confidence/assertiveness despite my many mistakes during the game. There was one try I blew up in the men’s D2 game before the player was actually in the try zone – completely my fault. But I apologized and resolutely gave them a scrum on the 5, and thankfully they scored after a few more phases. Phew! After the game the player said I handled it well though, tg! I was extra careful about the non-visible trylines after that game!

3 things I can improve on:

  1. Game knowledge, of course! More specifically though: scrums – how to tell if a team isn’t engaging vs early driving (talked to Virginia about it. Thanks for the prop tips, friend!), lineouts – being more consistent with my straight vs not-straight calls, advantage – understanding the difference between penalty and scrum advantages, and judging them better. There were definitely times when I should’ve called it back to the penalty but I thought I already let the teams play on for too long so I just ended the advantage out of laziness and insecurity. Bad job, Em! Be confident and trust your judgement! It’ll get better… Also, secondary signals. I really don’t know many since I was always just the faaaaar away observer back there at #15. 
  2. Processing who’s committing penalties better (ie. seeing their number) and making sure to talk to them or their captain at the next stoppage. Game management, Em! There were times when I was pretty bad at it.
  3. Seeing things other than the ball and the immediate action. A big one for example is offsides. Luckily the teams weren’t creeping that much (I think), but I know that if they were I wouldn’t have seen it anyways. Also, watching the kicker after he/she kicks, watching the area around a violent ruck after the ball is out, etc. Related to this is my position on the pitch. I’m doing fine getting to the area but I think my actual position relative to both teams and the ruck can be dramatically improved. (I’m thinking of how Brad suggested standing at a corner of the gate and watching the defending team. It helps with offsides and judging the gate, which I also have trouble with.)

3 things I’d like to see in practice. Jk! 3 things I should do before the next game:

  1. Read up on scrums and lineouts again. I gotta get caught up on forwards things!
  2. Practice common secondary signals and practicing the calls audibly.
  3. Watch film. :) You have a bunch on the list!

Thanks, Chelsea!

And finally, some Narrative: wowowow Beast of the East is a HUGE tournament!! 80+ teams??!!! There was D1D2D3 Women and D1D2 Men. I didn’t get to watch many games since I was pretty scheduled from 8am to 6pm each day. I feel like I warmed up, refereed, rested for 15ish minutes, repeated for 8 hrs. Man was I WIPED. But I’m not complaining, because I was definitely in a lot less pain than those players out there, despite having 8 games in a weekend. Also, I’ve definitely gotten soft. A large man stepped on me during the D2 men’s game and I was totally complaining and whining to myself about it in my head. Oh how I’ve forgotten the pain of rugby. It wasn’t even that bad! I’m embarrassed at my brief moment of weakness – it’s just a toe! I’m so happy that my first time reffing was this tournament, and that I got to have so many successive games! It was v helpful in adjusting goals and seeing improvement. ALSO, it was awesome to have SO MANY friends around!!! Between pvd players, new ref friends, and just a bunch of people I’ve met in my past 4 years of rugby life there was never a lack of friends, smiles, and support. I loved it! (SHOUTOUT TO Marielle! Field 1 buddy, you rule!) Thank you to all the refs I met in the tent. Got a lot of good advice. They’re all super nice and super chill. I felt important having the privilege to be in the ref tent haha, and getting food + water. TG for Subway sandwiches!!! This is less than 5% of all the thoughts I had and positivity I felt at Beast, but I’ll leave it here for now and hope you enjoy some pics of me(thanks Rach!!)  looking non-official. #BBB

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The Wing and I

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