For various reasons, most of them bad (complete and utter lack of time away from work being primary), I have been unable to become re-certified as a soccer referee for 2013. I usually knock this process out some time either in November or December for the following year. But four or five months ago, I absolutely could not spare even a few moments to schedule, much less study for, my recertification test.
As a result, I have been working on an occasional basis what we call in the trade “unsanctioned” games. That’s a fancy way of saying the particular soccer league at issue does not enjoy inclusion into the United States Soccer Federation umbrella or any other similar organization. It’s not really a huge deal to me, but to give you an idea of the level of adult competition involved, no slide tackling is allowed and audible profanity results in a mandatory five-minute send-off.
I have to watch my own mouth as much as the players, as in, “I can’t believe I’m
fu freaking doing this.”
The games aren’t particularly challenging, but they are somewhat enjoyable in a laid-back sort of way. I don’t even take the time to warm up before taking the pitch (field). I simply stop for a foo-foo coffee on the way over to get my “caffeine on”, and I’m pretty much good to go by game time.
In a way, it’s sad, because I’m used to working much higher level, more violent and demanding matches.
So, since the cauldron at work has recently begun to cool, I decided to schedule my referee recert test and get back in gear.
I reserved my place online about a month ago, and yesterday morning was the exam session. I had a solid plan in place for the week prior. Starting on Monday, I was to study just a few pages each night so that by Friday evening, the bulk of the prep work would be complete and I would be good to go for Saturday.
You might have guessed what really happened.
I only managed to crack my study book after supper the night before, and I managed to review the necessary text while simultaneously watching the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.
Note to Daughter: Don’t try this methodology at your Lesbian Cult College. It is proven to deliver mediocre results, at best.
Saturday morning dawned bright and early, but it was only because the test site was about a 40-minute drive from home. I had to build in enough time to pick up a foo-foo coffee on my way over. Just like working a real game, I knew I needed that caffeine boost to encourage the gray matter to kick it up a notch during the test.
The first bad sign was when I rolled up to the elementary school where the test was scheduled; it looked like about a thousand cars were parked all over the place. I just wasn’t really up for a group cluster.
All I wanted was an easy multiple
guess choice test, and an instructor who wasn’t shy about giving away the answers ahead of time.
The second bad sign was at the registration desk, after I finally found the correct room. Yes, I was on the list, but, no, I had no idea what the guy checking off names was talking about.
“Yes, sir, I’ve got you on the list. Now I need your $20 facility fee.”
“My what? I already paid for all of this online. Are you saying I owe twenty more bucks?”
“Sir, you’re the only one who didn’t get the word this morning. No one else has had a problem.”
Well, I already was not in the best of moods, and now this. I really had no choice but to pay the piper. Thank God I had more than the usual two dollars in my wallet, but this was really beginning to
piss me off upset me.
This day was not starting out well at all.
Once inside what appeared to be the school cafeteria, I grabbed a seat right up front, since it seemed there was going to be some kind of presentation which I was going to have a very difficult time seeing, since I forgot my glasses.
In fact, I was woefully unprepared, not even taking into account the lack of studying.
To wit, I was supposed to bring a couple of pencils — nope, I brought one pen. Note taking paper was encouraged — nope, I figured I could write the really important stuff on my hand in ink. The instructor had some kind of pre-test lesson planned — nope, I left the good ole hearing aids at home, too.
Geez. This was shaping up well, I figured.
I had been sitting at the table for all of two minutes, when another older dude plopped down beside me, either because he was as disadvantaged as I was, or because almost everyone else in the room was fourteen years old.
He did seem to have a lot of notes with him, so I casually asked if I could use him to cheat.
“What kind of work do you do?” he asked me in an Australian accent.
I told him I was a program manager. I just as easily could have said architect or veterinarian, but I didn’t feel like I could pass for either at the moment.
“I just needed to make sure you weren’t a lawyer. These notes are from the pre-marital agreement with my new wife. We just got married, and now I’m reviewing them.”
Clearly, I did not have a monopoly on issues this morning. In fact, this guy turned out to be really nice, and he spend the better part of the next two hours whispering to me about not only various refereeing problems, but his new marriage, as well.
Since I didn’t have my hearing aids in, I understood maybe, maybe about ten percent of what he said. I just smiled, nodded my head frequently, and occasionally gasped “really?” to any comment that seemed especially important, or so I guessed.
When it came time to take the actual test, we broke up into groups, and we could actually talk and reason through the answers together. Since I was one of the few adults in attendance, I was
saddled with assigned a group of four teenagers to mentor through the exam.
This pimply convocation of hungry ennui was a life-saver for me, because they both studied and remembered the answers to last year’s exam, and could cite specific problems for reference. However, the kid at the end of the table was only a little more clueless than me. He, in fact, didn’t have a clue, but was clearly benefiting from the brainpower around him.
As was I.
Long story short, we managed to complete the exam in about 45 minutes, and then spent 30 minutes waiting in line for it to be graded.
We all passed, and we only missed two or three questions.
The Pimpletons pulled me through. Hooray!
Second Note to Daughter — do what I say; not what I do. Prepare, study hard, write outlines, revise, and then revise again.
Or find a damn good graduate student tutor to help you out. It only gets worse as you get older.