I have recently joined the fraternity of refereeing soccer games. Ok it’s been 2 weeks thus far and only with youth games but hear me out. For me it’s a bonus to my weekend as I get paid to be around the sport I love (see Dad, I can totally earn money), whilst occasionally having to explain that a throw in requires both feet on the ground whilst witnessing FIFA 17 worthy goal celebrations.
Thus far I’ve had the pleasure of refereeing the junior youth girls, who are ages are between 11 and 14, and as a lines ref for the under 13’s game, a girls team vs the boys team. Both games had players who showed commitment, love for the game and some excellent goals, with a shout out to the player in the junior youth game who got five goals in the one game.
Both games had similarities and differences; for instance, the junior youth girls played on a modified small field (which is great for learning technique and skill) whilst the under 13’s were on a full field. There was however one difference I found really interesting; that being the language of the players.
During the junior youth girl’s game “sorry” must have been the most used word on the field, (you were expecting something that started with f and sounded like yuck, weren’t you).
Meanwhile from the sidelines of the under 13’s game “sorry” was barely spoken from either side, despite one striker who probably should have apologised after his third offside. Still I can only recall the girl goalkeeper apologising for not kicking the ball far enough, which to be fair kicking the ball from a goal kick takes practice.
I’ve played in teams with only girls and teams predominately made up of boys, so from experience I know the language of a football field can vary greatly between teams. I remember growing up playing with and against boys, where even if I managed to make a guy twice my size fall to the ground I would barely have uttered the words sorry. Yet only on this past weekend whilst playing in my women’s side I apologised to my teammate when I played a weak pass to her.
Should we, as females, stop apologising on a football field because our male counterparts don’t? Or should the boys learn how to say sorry? No idea. Personally, the reason I apologise to a teammate is because I see my part as important to the team as a whole and hate when I make it harder for my teammate to play well. Others may think apologising isn’t professional, whilst many probably reckon I’m over thinking this.
I am a great believer in equality and believe it doesn’t matter who is playing football, as long as they are enjoying the game. However, it is interesting to note the differences in how teams and individuals interact on a football field. As for apologising on the field, as long as it doesn’t take away from learning and enjoying the game, it really doesn’t matter, unless I get kicked in the head and get a concussion. Then I want chocolate. Chocolate trumps sorry any day!