I woke up on the second morning of the Vail, Colorado 2012 LAREDO 3 clinic, and as I’m eating a delightful meal of pancakes in comes one of the LAREDO 3 clinicians, Sean Murphy. Since my assigned crew chief was unable to ref that day due to a bad illness Sean was stepping up to fill his place so we had a full three-man crew for the first game of the day. I was starting on my second pancake when Sean told me, “Gordon you are the Referee of our crew for today.” I almost choked on the pancake.
I finished my breakfast and started packing my gear and officiating binder into my backpack for the day’s games. Then I got into the backseat of the SUV with Sean Murphy in the passenger seat, Don Balch next to me, and the other member of the crew driving. Don was not on the crew, but he was going to be evaluating how the crew performed in the game. I was going to be working on the field with a high-caliber lacrosse official, Sean, and evaluated by another high-caliber lacrosse official, Don. It was time for me to bring my “A” game.
The ride from the condos to the Vail fields took about fifteen minutes, and after pulling onto the main highway Sean asked me to start my pre-game. Now, I take a lot of pride in having a good and thorough pre-game discussion with whoever I’m working with. But there was one problem. My pre-game sheet was in my binder, which was in my bag, which was way in the back of the SUV.
I told Sean I’ll give him a good pre-game, but I needed my sheet to do it right. To which Sean replied, “Ah so you’re a freaking sheet guy huh?” That got a good laugh from the other two officials. Then Don jumped in and told me, “Gordon I’ve been doing this for twenty years and I’m still a sheet guy.” Absent my sheet, we had a very general discussion on mechanics for the rest of the drive.
Once we arrived at the field I grabbed my bag out of the back of the SUV and we had a short pre-game where I covered everything I like to cover from my sheet. I ended my pre-game the same way I end all of my pre-games, with an acronym that I got from a very nice officiating couple at the US Lacrosse Convention a few years back:
If nothing else we will catch the ROUC.
Pre-game finished I led the coaches certification, coin toss, and line up. The actual game was a blur. I remember I made a good push into the crease call as the single-side official, but I also got dinged by Don on a few things in my post-game evaluation. Still, I had turned in a strong performance and I performed the role of the Referee in the manner that I like to perform it. I’m extremely detail-based prior to the game and I like my checklist sheet. If I prepare well enough then during the game I am able to find the flow of the game better and keep it flowing.
Not many fourth-year officials get to officiate a high-level lacrosse game with one COC official on the field and another evaluating them. It was a pressure-cooker environment, but the senior GLOA refs prepared me well to step into that environment.
I may be a sheet guy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because that is what works for me.
I’ll leave you with one Murphism that I picked up during that game.
“Hit the mitts!”