Apparently I'm a disgrace. I refereed a junior football match this morning. No names, but you can probably work it out if you wanted to. I'd been warned to keep an eye on one of the team managers. I had a chat to him before the game, then again at half time when things had - predictably - got a bit testy. I didn't actually expect to have to watch out for dirty play with 9 and 10 year old boys, or off the ball incidents, but to stop the game if a kid got hurt and give the odd free kick. You sort of let things go unless they're really serious. One boy was getting tearful because another was clipping his ankles. At half time I appealed for calm and asked the managers to have a word with the players concerned.
Second half, early on, I spotted a bit of a niggle between two boys, but it didn't amount to much and I let play go on. Well, the manager never let up after that. I had to stop the game and ask him to calm down. When the home team scored, the away goalie burst into tears and claimed another boy had punched him in the eye. I never saw it. Hurt pride, I think, because he'd kept his team in the game until that point. This manager then took his team off and refused to play the remaining few minutes, blaming me. What a tool. He didn't stop ranting for a good 20 minutes. I walked away. Even a parent from his team told me he "had a short fuse" and that I had done a good job.
I needed to tell him he couldn't carry on ranting about me and just asked him to remember that it's just kids football and to ask the question all people involved in junior football need to ask: who is this for?
His response: "You're a disgrace".
Never again. And I feel utterly depressed.