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




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Posts for tag: soccer referee

By Brandon Macy, D.P.M.
January 11, 2015
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: soccer referee  

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). 

A few years later I was conned into being an assistant coach and, ultimately arm-twisted into being a head coach for my 2nd daughter when she was starting 2nd grade. Did I say that in spite of enjoying the game, I had never played the game?  Quite naturally, my youngest daughter expected me to be her coach as well, so among the three of them, I was a coach for literally hundreds of games involving hundreds of girls and boys.

Being a travel coach for my youngest daughter, I encountered one of those unfortunate experiences where one assistant coach (and his wife) wanted to take their daughter and 3 of the other players to a private club and my other assistant was a master of backstabbing when trying to re-form the team for the next school year.  Not being Machiavellian by nature, I resigned.  But I needed to stay involved in soccer somehow and couldn’t stand sitting there watching this jerk coach my team (BTW, he got his comeuppance from the club the very next season when he used a non-roster player in a game—a huge no-no).  So I signed up for a refereeing course and the rest is history.

Quickly, I learned how much I didn’t know about the Laws of the Game.  I learned about camaraderie with fellow referees as teammates and as “Brothers and Sisters of the Whistle”.  Frankly, it was also a way to get paid to exercise and I could get both set of parents angry with me during a given game, not just those from my own team.

Seriously, though, it is a great deal of fun but 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.

As I thought about those reasons, I also realized 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.

  1. Sometimes you’re wrong. I hate being wrong. Actually, that’s an understatement. But I’ve also learned it’s more dangerous to pretend you’re not. Referee instructors have taught me over the years that the moment I’m walking off the field at halftime is a beneficial time to catch my breath and check in with referee teammates.  We ask “did I miss anything out there?”  Lesson:  At appropriate times, seek out feedback from another set of eyes and ears. Never fall into the trap of thinking you know everything or that you’re always right.  In medical practices, sometimes you get a diagnosis wrong or miss a critical clue in making a diagnosis. You’re not always right  when it comes to running your practice or dealing with staff, either.  Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or a second opinion 
  2. Not everybody will like what you decide.  You can’t please everybody and in a soccer game somebody is going to be angry at your decision.  Was it offside or not?  Was it a foul or not? Despite others’ “perspectives” on important referee tasks like foul recognition, player management, game flow and conflict management, the game must go on.   Lesson:  Expect disagreement from time to time (but don’t look for it). And try to get comfortable with the discomfort — realizing it’s a necessary part of being in charge of the game.  Patients may not like your treatment recommendations—not many like receiving an injection or surgery.  Personnel decisions can be downright unpopular. 
  3. Find your level. Referees are competitive, and some are ambitious to go to state and national levels. That’s terrific, and I marvel at their abilities and commitment.  I don’t really care about what level a game I work.  The little 8-9 year olds are a hoot. I’ve worked girls’ college showcase tournaments with top notch players and 200 college coaches checking them out for recruiting purposes. For the most part I stick with my local travel league, working games from the U-8 to U-14. I also enjoy higher-level travel games working as an assistant referee (the ones on each sideline carrying the flag). They seem to fit and offer that right combination of challenge and enjoyment. Lesson: Realize there’s plenty of opportunity out there vis a vis individual goals.  In medical practice, you have to practice in the style and perform the procedures that you enjoy.  You also have to know your             limits. A friend of mine one told me that the difference between a good surgeon and a great surgeon is in knowing when not to       operate.  If something is out of your league, learn by assisting first or refer.  If there’s something that you simply prefer not to do,     refer or delegate.
  4. Anticipate. This unpredictable sport has some fairly predictable patterns: Where players tend to go, where the ball tends to go, what tends to happen in the flow of the play. Soccer has taught me the practice of thinking ahead just a few seconds or even a few minutes. For instance, when a player commits two fouls, it is quite possible he or she will commit a third. So a quick word of admonition could prevent that third foul and an injury (a sure benefit since it’s the referee’s job to make the game as safe and fair as possible)—and keeping that player from being ejected from the game. Lesson: Think about what’s happened before and what people’s objectives and state of mind might be. Consider how to point things in a productive direction.  In medical practice, there’s so much planning to do.  I was taught by my residency director to mentally rehearse every step of a planned surgical procedure—from the time I walk into the hospital to the time I leave.  It becomes far easier to make any needed adjustments from that point. You have to anticipate a variety of patient needs from appointment scheduling to office access issues to insurance/billing issues as well as their psychological needs.  You need to anticipate how you will deal with your staffing needs and your own needs in maintaining a medical practice.  A great thing to do is to mentally rehearse “what will I do, how will I respond if ‘x’ happens”? Or “how can I make ‘y’ happen or how can I prevent ‘z’ from happening”?

               More to come in the next few days!


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