Why is this a winter sport again?

Ignore how dorky I look

Check that positioning. Beauty.

Hi everyone, long time no blog, I know. This is approximately 95% due to exhaustion and 5% due to writing blog posts in my head which makes me think I’ve updated when I haven’t. Possibly because of the exhaustion.

Anyways, there has been a couple of games I’ve refereed, though way less than my usual number, which is good because my knees are not happy. The right knee in particular, which I’ve dislocated multiple times, is at a low-level grumble most days now. I don’t think it takes a psychic to see arthritis in my future.

A couple of weeks ago, I was again roped into chasing after the Falcons, in what may be both the epitome of how rugby can embrace all comers – and the most improbable game to ever happen ever.

On one side were the gays. On the other side was half a dozen guys with special needs, plus a number of ring-ins. It was a blast. The score was a predictable blowout in favour of the team with fewest cognitive impairments (or at least, as few as you get in a bunch of rugby players) but that hardly matters. Rugby was definitely the winner on the day.

Fast forward a week, and I was determined to not referee. I’d had a week of earlies, terrible sleep, and the weather was utterly pants. It was really really cold, and raining, and blowing a howling wind. The kind of wind which drives straight through my boney ribcage and chilled me from the inside out. I have a big down jacket, and I wasn’t getting out of it. The other team had to provide a ref and they could damn well provide it.

Of course I ended up doing the game. It was a good one even – but really, blue fingers are no. Can’t remember the score because I didn’t take it, I have previously had the joy of attempting to take score on a freezing day, and the only thing worse than not feeling your fingers is trying to write while you can’t feel your fingers.

This afternoon I’m set to referee some Japanese girls playing sevens. One of them is billeted with one of my neighbours. The weather appears to be both cold and miserable.

Once more unto the breach, my friends!


The Odyssey, part I, with emphasis on the ‘Odd’



Featured in this photo is Angus (wearing the white T-shirt) who is arguably the smallest and most adorbs referee in the world.  He’s refereeing at the BaaBaas rugby day, and those kids around him are about 9.

So, where were we?

Continue reading



I don’t think I’ve felt as annoyed by the prospect of having a game to do as I felt today. I was tired, I was busy, I did not want to have to get up, get changed, and go yell at 14 year olds. This resentment was further deepened by the fact I never travel at rush hour, so I grossly underestimated the time it would take to get to Liston College, meaning I was really late.

And I have two games tomorrow. I need to think to myself that I don’t have to volunteer for everything… Or that I should wait a little longer before volunteering so that someone else can first.

But anyway. LAST weekend, before we crack on to another one. It was a day of two games – and they were two very different games. First I had a trip down to St Kentigerns to referee their under 15s against Wesley.

I played one advantage for foul play (a try was scored from it) and other than that nothing – it was clean, it was fast, it left me showing I am slow. It was a fabulous game on a fabulous day and I came away from it tired but happy. It was well worth the 45.4 km round trip to get there from my house.

Now I come to a thorny question – do I count kilometers travelled in someone else’s car? I think I do, though I’ll note how many and separate it out. I got a lift with one of the Falcons to their game against Eden – and trust me, it gets awkward when the bloke giving you a lift places is the one you firmly tell to cool his heels on the sideline. But we’re friends again now. I think.

I’m not refereeing them this weekend, and I think it’ll be good for them to have someone else dealing with them for a bit.

That was merely 9.6 km from my house to the ground to Ponsonby rugby club for the aftermatch. Shout-out to B.G. Williams for making us both awed and very welcome.

And then today. Under 14s, Liston v Kelston – neighbouring schools so the boys know each other and they’re ready for a scrap. It was all about control – controlling tempers, controlling the time, controlling the urge to give up and let them duke it out.

I had two yellow cards, one from each team for the same offence – deliberate, aimed no arms tackle. As they both protested I had to give them a warning, I said that was their warning – they got to come back on the field 10 minutes later.

Last year I learned something which I hadn’t needed to know in Wellington – the appropriate amount of respect to give the team’s captain. Even if he’s 14, he’s in a leadership position, which gives him an amount of mana in the game. If I don’t respect that, he and his players will not respect me. Eventually I managed to get buy-in from both captains: Their players were effing and blinding, so I called them over and said  “There are ladies and little children here. They shouldn’t hear f-words and c-words from your players.” That was enough to get them onside with me – a reminder that they were in charge of 14 other boys, and an appeal to the better side of their masculinity.

The captains behaved, the teams behaved better, and the second half saw some great running rugby. Liston came out on top 15-5, and no punches were thrown. I blew the final whistle just before the heavens opened and it poured.

It was a 24.2 km journey, and it was hard work right from beginning to end.

So, if I add in Tuesday’s game, In one week, for four games I travelled 122 kilometers. The orange petrol light continues to mock me.

Tomorrow, two games at Kings College. That’s 6 in 8 days, if you’re keeping track.


Any questions?

I got to lead a Rugby 101 type session on Thursday, which was both good fun and I felt was fairly successful – though it was hampered some by only six or so showing up and no one being terribly keen on rolling in damp grass. (Fair call, I wasn’t doing it.)

From a refereeing point of view it was helpful to have to demonstrate and articulate what I look for when I see the ‘picture’ isn’t quite right. It helped organise things in my brainhead, which is always nice.

The ground was a short 12.8km round trip. 

I’m a T-Rex. Only not awesome.

I’ve hooked up with the Falcons, a social rugby team, to ease the burden that is training on your own (worst part of life as a referee) and yesterday I got to remind myself why I don’t try to play the game, because it involves all kinds of passing and catching and yelling my name loudly so everyone is looking when I drop the ball. It was fun though.

Because I can’t get tackled*, I sat out a couple of the drills. One of which was high-ball practice. This of course necessitated someone to put  the ball up to catch, and since I was just standing around that person was deemed to be me.

Today my arms and chest hurt, from too much throwing. I am such a weakling.

Training was at Western Springs, so it was a short 8.5km round trip. Bonus.

*Reason 1: I broke my neck when I was 19; reason 2: I weigh 55 kgs soaking wet.