Tuesday, August 07, 2012

On Bad Calls

Let's just get this part right out of the way: that call on the Canadian goalkeeper yesterday was horseshit...er...equine stuff (I'm trying not to cuss so much). Just a horrible example of an official injecting her influence into the match, the exact opposite of what referees should do. This was not a close call that she missed. It was a call she conjured out of thin air.

Shame on her.

That said, I have no doubt the U.S. women would have found a way to equalise anyway. That's what they do. There was plenty of time left. Canada was not interested in attacking. Down a goal, inside ten minutes (plus Fergie Time!), they would have found a goal. How could you possibly doubt it?

Also, Alex Morgan. 

Anyways, I thought I'd write about the worst calls I've ever had happen while on a soccer pitch. That's fun, right? Everyone else is trotting out Jim Joyce and Don Denkinger and that jerkoff who denied the U.S. the winner against Slovenia two years ago in the World Cup, so you don't want those rehashed again, do you? Of course not. I am far more interesting.


The worst call, in terms of results, I ever had to deal with was while I was coaching a high school boys team (I was the assistant coach). It was a down year for us, but were playing a local rival, so big stakes. I'd had a few comments for the ref during the game (he stunk; or he was crooked; one of the two), but nothing that would incur his wrath. Scoreless game in the second half and our left winger was dribbling down the sideline right in front of me at midfield, when the ref--far away and at a bad angle--called the ball out. It was not out. I didn't say a word, merely swung my foot, hard, which caused me to spin around away from the field.


The ref runs over to me, all redpuffyfaced, and gives me a yellow card for dissent. "I didn't say anything!" was my response. He said, "You were inciting the crowd."

There were like 8 people in the stands.

He awards a free kick to the opposition (which I'm pretty sure is a breach of the rules; they should have just had their throw-in, since the ball was "out" and play dead when I incited eight people). Naturally, they scored off the dead ball and we lost 1-0.

Pretty sure that was unfair. Regardless, I felt like a complete ass.


Another officiating mistake I recall mainly because my coach failed to back me up and that was the end of any respect I had for the man, though there was precious little of that in the first place since he took over a Rolls Royce of a team that had won two State Championships and turned it into a Yugo before bailing mid-season for a high school gig.

I was playing goalie that year and rushed out to meet a long ball (sweeper-keeper!). I was well out of the box and chested the ball down to control it. As soon as I made contact with the ball, the ref blew the whistle for hand ball.


Now, clearly, as the play unfolded, he was under the assumption that I was unaware I was out of the box and fully expected me to handle it illegally, so much so that he had already set his phaser to "Blow." It would have been very simple for him to admit his error--for he surely realized he was wrong--wave off the call and just let me re-start play from where I was. He did not do that. And, in the throes of his embarrassment at being the worst/one of those typical ref needs to never admit mistakes, he allowed the free kick to stand.

I protested vehemently, as did my teammates. The coach? Nothing. When I stormed off at half, I was all like "WTF?" and he was all like, "Well, you did have your hands up to where it looked like you were going to catch it." And I was all like "Have another donut you fat muzzachunka."


My absolute favorite ridiculous call, however, came in one of my adult rec league games. I soared into a small crowd of players to win a head ball, gliding by on air that others could not see, before landing softly and continuing my assault forward.

Or something like that.

Before I could maraud the opposition goal with malice aforethought, the ref called me for a foul on the header. When I clamly shrilly asked him what transgression I had committed, he responded, "Jumping too high."

Points for that one, sir. His explanation was that this was a rec league and "We all have to go to work tomorrow," meaning, I suppose, that we should not play with any physicality or passion or, you know, skill. And we most assuredly would not be allowed to jump past a reasonable height.

This did, however, provide much hilarity for the remainder of the game as every positive move by our team was announced by our sweeper as a potential foul, ie "running too fast" or "being too good."


In closing, I can't, for the life of me, recall an egregious refereeing error that went my way. Funny how that goes.