In every LA there is always at least one blatant cheat coiled like a spring, looking like they’re going to explode at any second. They are a pariah to the rest, as you know they will cross every boundary and contest every decision to ensure they win and then smugly thank you for the game afterwards. Then there are those who just don’t want to be there but have been delegated the task by the head- they’ve not even brought a ball and (judging by the way they are dressed) are communicating loud and clear that they aren’t refereeing! And then there are those who are dedicated, inspiring and understand the physical, cognitive and affective benefits that everyone at this event should get from this – the majority.
Meanwhile the organiser is tearing his/her hair out that school x has just dropped a text in saying they now can’t get there because Mrs Jones’s car has a flat tyre, throwing all of the fixtures and timings into absolute chaos. The coach of The Pot hunters is reminding his/her team to stay focused whilst he hands out the water bottles and wraps his captain’s armband on his oh so focused skipper. Meanwhile the team C from Flowery Primary are wondering who is in their team as no two players have the same coloured kit and whether anyone has brought a ball while their teacher is busy accepting a coffee from the mumsie’s who have just done the Costa run.
The Pot Hunters (in their immaculate kit) with their coach’s initials emblazoned on his top have spent the last 6 weeks, in curriculum time and at their after school club, they’re ready and are having their second team meeting of the day staring intently at the manager’s tactics board. The idealists, from Flowery PS who chose their team by picking raffle tickets out of a hat, are nervously wondering how they are going to get on and secretly hoping they don’t draw the Pot Hunters in match one.
The parents are gathered; Mr A (with the Pot hunters) is already shouting advice and offering to run the line in his tracksuit whilst secretly wishing he could manage the team. Mrs C from Flowery has brought everyone a carton of juice and some Jaffa cakes and has invited her mum and dad up from Westminster to watch Bertie in his first ever game for the school.
Then there’s the young leaders refereeing, lacking the confidence to make eye contact with the 8 year old children let alone the team managers (Mr A is sure to be frothing at the mouth later, at some of their decisions), whilst Bertie’s grandparents mutter at what an awful example he is setting to the children and deflecting attention from Bertie’s teams twelve goal humiliation at the hands of The Pot Hunters.
School sport at its best is fantastic, its character building, it’s exciting, it’s mesmerising and it’s full of characters. It is now played on better facilities, more kids get an opportunity and more young people cut their teeth refereeing- what’s not to love about it!