Just Call Me Ref


It’s easy, they said.

They don’t keep score.

They’re six year olds.

How hard could it be?


The first game I strolled on to the field and asked the other team where their referee was (there is supposed to be two referees).

“We don’t have one. No one would volunteer,” she told me. “I didn’t want to stress about it. I mean, what are you going to do?”


I just stared at her and said, what, I have no idea because my brain checked out of the conversation. It was too busy reminding me just how out of shape I was.

See, the field, those “little” six -year old soccer fields are actually HUGE.

OK, maybe not HUGE but they’re big.

I was going to have to, like, run. 

Not good. Not good at all.


It’s time to start the game. The girls lined up. I said something like, “Are you ready, Blue Tigers?” and they said, “Yes!” Then I said “You can do better than that!” and then they all roared and laughed and jumped around. Then I turned to the other team and said, “Are you ready, Pink Unicorn Princesses?” And they said, “yes!” And then I said, “You can do better than that!” And then they all stared at me.


Moving on.

I blew the whistle and the game started.

Emma stared up at me and smiled. She loved it. She bragged to her teammates “the referee is my mom!”


As I ran from goal to goal to goal to goal and back again, I decided that I needed to do less things FOR my kids and more things WITH my kids. I thought about how amazing it was to be out there with my baby girl. To give her a high five when she scored. To tie her shoe when it came undone. To cheer her on. We were doing this together. It was awesome! I was having a blast!

And then…I died.

My lungs said SCREW THIS, leapt out of my chest, and took a seat on the empty Tommy Bahama chair in the shade, leaving me a huffing, puffing, sweaty “I’m about to pass out” mess.

At one point, I thought “How about I stand the middle and watch?”


Here’s the thing about six year olds, they travel in herds around the field and you have to chase them. Otherwise you have no idea who kicked the ball out, who kicked the ball in, who is crying…

Around halftime my watched beeped, to let me know I’d met my daily step goal.

Which, admittedly, isn’t that high.

As soon as I blew that whistle, to end the game, I took a seat next to my lungs on that Tommy Bahama and cried…Ok, fine, I didn’t cry. Mostly because I had no moisture left in my body. It was all soaked into that giant yellow polyester shirt.

But Emma, oh man, she was so happy! She beamed.

So maybe I do need to do more things WITH my kids instead of FOR my kids.

And maybe those things should be stationary activities.

There’s no one else in the world I’d dress like a bumblebee for.







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