Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Midwest Ref’s Reflections: From Behind the Whistle

By Alex Scheer

Being not only a playing ref from the Midwest, but also the Midwest Regional Director, I am held under higher degrees of scrutiny than others in the region. Furthermore, I hold myself to a higher level of professionalism as best as I can when I referee. As said by some, I am consistently one of the fairest and firmest refs they have ever played for. Being asked to ref a Final Four match and the championship validates this claim. But it’s more than just being a good ref with the big title; it’s about relationships and interactions. 

In my entire career as a referee, I have only once felt disrespected by a team/player, and that was very early on. This weekend, I saw several teams who were upset with calls that didn’t go their way or a beat before goal; whatever the case, very rarely did I see teams completely explode on the refs. Oh, sure, there was complaining from the benches and fans, but that was expected. After talking to my fellow refs, I feel confident in saying no referee left the Midwest Regional Championships feeling disrespected at all. 

There is a certain switch you are required to have as a ref. Reffing and playing in the same tournament is difficult because you want to think about your next game. If you have been eliminated, it’s hard to not think about that, especially if you are reffing the team that eliminated your own. You just can’t get it out of your head. My own Blue Mountain Quidditch Club has a motto: “Forget the last play/game and move onto the next.” That’s what you have to do as a referee, too; focus on the now, forget the past. You owe that to the players and fans of the teams you are reffing. You are (as a head ref) being paid for a service, and you are expected to do your very best. I can honestly say I never felt like any head ref was biased in any game that I saw all weekend. 

It was great getting to ref so many quality teams and so exciting to get to work alongside quality referees. The reffing situation has improved slightly; however, the region as a whole is still lacking good, certified refs to help fill holes. Samy Mousa, the Midwest referee coordinator, did a wonderful job with the refs he had this weekend. He put them all in a place to be successful and ref successful games. I had the fortunate experience of reffing the finals and one semifinal match on Day Two. I can’t even tell you anything strategic about those games. What I can tell you is that I worked with some of the best assistant referees that I have ever worked with this past weekend. 

Reffing is difficult, and since I have been a player and ref for over a year now, I’ve learned you must be able to adopt tunnel vision. The position requires you to be tough as nails. If you let anyone affect your ability to ref, you have already lost their respect. Make your calls, stand by them, and make sure you are doing what is best for the game.

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