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Podiatrist - Clark, NJ
1114 Raritan Road
Clark, NJ 07066

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By Brandon Macy, D.P.M.
January 18, 2015
Category: Uncategorized
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[This is the second part of a two part article.  To see the first part, click on the link: 8 Lessons Learned From Being a Soccer Referee, Part 1]

I was just recertified for my 12th year as a soccer referee.  It’s been a most interesting ride, from when I began as a soccer parent for my oldest daughter when she was in first grade (she’s now in her 30s and the mother of my granddaughter--a future soccer player no doubt).  There’s a great deal that goes into being a referee.  Desire, commitment, effort, fitness, teamwork.  Clear thinking and the ability to make quick, decisive judgment calls on the run.  Individual and group psychology--and a sense of humor.

 I've also come to realize how much soccer has given me new perspectives. Serving as a referee also means learning and re-learning a few things — some that apply not just to sports but to life and business.

5. Plan, plan, plan! We typically have a slate of 3-4 games to work on a Sunday afternoon and have to work hard to keep the games on time.  Planning the pregame routine of checking the field, checking the players in (making sure you get paid in advance!), coordinating the calling of the game with the other referees are all part of having a smooth game day.  Lesson: show up and be prepared.

In medical practices, a few minutes before the day starts can get things flowing smoothly for the entire day to keep you on time and functioning efficiently.  For longer term issues, setting goals and planning meetings maintains the ship sailing in the direction you want.

6.   Be flexible.  At each age level, at each playing level, at each competitive level, a good referee needs to adapt to the day’s game. While there are the Laws of the Game, there is also the Spirit of the Game.  Some of that is sportsmanship, some of that is in knowing when to call a game tight and knowing when to let them play.  8-9 year olds get certain types of breaks on calls that older players would never get and vice versa.  It would take a lot to have a 9 year old ejected from a game—a whole lot.  Lesson:  Know who and what you’re dealing with and you can figure out how to be fair while remaining in charge.

In practice, you can be flexible up to a point with patients’ psychological and financial needs while still protecting their health and your business needs.  Employees have to earn the right on an ongoing basis to enjoy the benefits of your flexibility regarding their personal needs.

7.  Be gracious.   Parents, coaches and players often disagree with calls.  Some of them can get quite nasty and irate.  While you have to keep an eye and an ear out for situations which can distract players and disrupt the game, you can’t have “rabbit ears” or respond to everything that is said.  I once had a parent come up to me after a game after he had vehemently argued with me over a call involving the goalkeeper possibly losing possession of the ball.   He made it a point to apologize when he realized that my call was made to protect the player and that he would have wanted it called the same way if it was his child in that position.  He was gracious.  Lesson: you don’t have to react to every negative word or complaint, but if you do, take the high road at all times.

Patients complain, employees complain, everybody complains about something.  Avoid being sucked into the negativity, it’ll only bring you down. 

8.  Find a way to have fun.  Take what you do seriously, but never take yourself seriously is something I’ve lived by for a long time.  Kids are out there to play and have fun.  It’s the adults who are the ones who are prone to screwing things up.  In my 25+ years of being involved with youth soccer, I’ve had problems with no more  than about 5 kids. Countless adults.  In my pregame with little kids, I’ve told them that for the next hour (until the game is over) they don’t have to listen to their parents, unless mom/dad is the coach.  Kids love that.  10 year olds get a kick out of suggesting that I won’t allow them to use their cell phones to text their boyfriends/girlfriends during a match. Before a game I’ll ask the parents from the small sided games if any of them are college coaches scouting players.  Since none of them are, I’ll say I’m relieved that nobody’s scholarship will be at risk if I blow a call.  It helps.  Lesson:  There is very little that is worth doing if you’re not having fun.

The stresses of being a doctor and running a medical practice can be overwhelming at times.  Keep it light with the patients, keep it light with the staff.   It’ll make life that much easier when you get home at the end of the day, too.

It would take another entire article or two to review all the joys, benefits, heartaches, lessons and life-changing events that have resulted from my many years as a parent, coach and referee of “The Beautiful Game”.  The story about how I reconnected after 30 years with the woman who is my wife is related to my involvement with soccer.  My youngest daughter (who was a part time referee with me for a few years until college got in the way) just became a middle school teacher and next year she will be the coach of the girls’ soccer team at her school.  I figure my granddaughter will be a player when she gets to be of age, so there will be another generation going forward to watch with pleasure.  

Whatever it is that you do, enjoy your work, enjoy your life.

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Podiatrist - Clark, Dr. Brandon Macy, 1114 Raritan Road, Clark NJ, 07066 732-382-3470