43 years old. That was when I refereed my first soccer match.
Much like my first career, I would NEVER have thought I would be doing this. I was (am) the parent who yells a little too much from the sideline. I was the player who would demand that the referee give me a yellow card for dissent so that he would listen to my perspective on his officiating. I thought I had a much better grasp of the Laws of the Game than I actually did.
Then in June 2015 I went in for a slide tackle during an O-40 league match. The guy shooting the ball missed the ball and got me. Got my head. I remember shouting “Head! Head! Head” and then waking up under the shade of a tree leaning against a teammate until the ambulance arrived. Concussion. Doctors said quite authoritatively, don’t play competitively again.
But I love the beautiful game. I get to coach for my kids in our Connecticut town. But it isn’t enough. Not enough running nor enough action. The next month I took the test that would allow me to hold the whistle.