I have a lot of goals for my 2014 bike polo season. Some are generally unrealistic:
- Get to be the bike polo analyst for ESPN
- Grow three inches taller
- Score a goal on a Beaver Boy and then say something amazingly clever to him that just breaks him down
and some are more realistic:
- Travel to more tourneys
- Get better at my game,
- Become a solid ref who is sought after for NAH events
I want to speak to the very last point on the second list, there.
Reffing is something that NAH sponsored/qualified tournaments need, but something that is in short supply. There are great refs out there, but they are so few and, as is often the case, already involved in the tourney as a player, that their own time is limited. I’m hoping to step in as the next generation of ref: a player who isn’t playing at a qualifier but is there solely to ref the tourney.
Yeah, playing is more fun, it’s true. But I’m very aware that I’ll probably never play in a national tourney, and even more sure I’ll never play at Worlds (everyone has a skill set, physical ability isn’t one of my tools). However, I know I can make a positive, lasting impact on bike polo as a whole by becoming a dependable, “world-class” ref. That’s where I can have the most positive impact.
With that in mind, I approached my club during a meeting we were having with the idea that I’d officiate pickup games. I set up these parameters:
- I’ll act like a ref: whistle, rulebook, etc.
- I’ll call infractions, start and pause games.
- My team doesn’t need to listen to me. If I make a call they can just tell me to bugger off, and that’ll be that (it’s pick up)
The response was a mix of “yeah, who cares” and “it’d be fun to learn what the rules are.” I think, overall, it will make my club stronger, as we’ll be more aware of the rules, and it will put me on the path to being more confident at calling out as a ref.
There are other great resources of course, as evidenced by the the entire website resource ref.nahardcourt.com, which I have been/will be using as it grows–and as I expand my reffing talents.
This whole new venture made me wonder if anyone else out there is practicing this side of the sport, or if they all come by it honestly. It makes me think about whether having reffing be part of what your club teaches you should be more systemic in the sport, as some people will be better at reffing than they are at the game, and there’s room for everyone to expand into the talents they have within our sport.