The first morning of the academy. Everyone to rendezvous in the hotel lobby at 06:30.
My roommate is a young go-getter. He sets his alarm for 05:00. The type of alarm on an iPhone that makes you think of a nuclear disaster.
He obviously has no idea how hard it is to fall back asleep once I am awake. Probably because he is always the first one to rise!
He showers, and then climbs back into bed. It is now 05:10. Lord help me. Seriously. He is going back to sleep.
Truthfully I am too nervous to even sit still much less sleep. I have no idea what to expect for the day. Fortunately I have the experience of a Type A wife and two early rising kids under my belt. I am used to the clock reading “5” when I first look at it.
Shower, shave and dress. Three-stripe socks. “Mr. McCheesy-pants” referee shorts with a too-short in-seam that reminds me of Giorgio Chinaglia. I brought 4 different referee jerseys so I should be covered for any scenario but I put on the traditional yellow as the safest option.
Not surprisingly there is no-one in the lobby at 05:30. So I whip out the 200 page “Laws of the Game” and study up.
The first referees to arrive are a couple of young women dressed all in black. They glance at me but don’t really acknowledge me. As time rolls by everyone comes down. There is one common theme. Black. Everything official with USSF Referee program crests mind you- but black. No jerseys. No yellow.
And I was starting to get quizzical stares from the kids as they came downstairs. “Who brought the noob?” I could imagine them thinking.
By 6:30 the lobby was full of black and one yellow when one of the instructors came downstairs. He took one look at me and then barked to the crowd “Who was the roommate who let Bill come downstairs wearing yellow?”
Fortunately for my roommate (and bless him– a great guy) he had already gone back upstairs to find me something with a referee crest that I could wear instead of my polyester yellow.
So instead of yellow I stripped down to my (black) UnderArmour. I still got looks from some of the 20-somethings for being a 40+ grey haired dude wearing UA, but I certainly didn’t stand out nearly as much as I did with the yellow. It also nicely offset the red in my fully embarrassed, blushed cheeks. What a tool I am.