It’s not everyday that you can hear a crowd roar around you. Their cheers echoing throughout the stands, ‘GO FIJI GO!” vs ‘ALL BLACKS!’. It sends shivers down your spine and stands the hairs on your arms on end. It was definitely an experience and one that I can still feel through my bones as I write this. The World 7’s Series Hamilton leg is the experience I am talking about and an experience that I would be a part of any day of the week if the opportunity was to arise again.
My job at the 7’s was to channel my inner Bobby Boucher and provide the referees with some high quality H2O. This job to you, may seem like nothing, a pointless escapade to get more involved in the game our country (and many others) is passionate about… but it’s not. These professionals need their thirst quenched as much as any of the players that have just sprinted that same distance (and the referee’s can’t be subbed!). Imagine sprinting downfield alongside a runaway, only to remember that you’ve probably got to do the same thing another 2 to 3 times, in that half alone. This is all with no prospect of an impact referee jumping on with 2 minutes to go to finish the job off strong for you. It’s all you. So, you would need some water too right?
Running water was so much harder than I expected it to be, my short legs were working overtime (like a ducks legs underwater) just to get to the referee and back without getting caught out on the field as they kicked off to restart play. I know, talk about 3 sets of hour and a half sprint sessions per day! My legs were jelly by the end of the first day and completely spent after finals day. It’s fair to say that I worked harder over these two days than I ever have as a water girl. In. My. Life.
I’m telling you all of this so that you can see that rugby refereeing can bring you into the action of the game. You may be a blip on the radar, or you may be the 15th or 31st (wo)man on that field taking the stage. Either way, there is an experience waiting for everyone when they pick up the whistle, a flag or even a water bottle. It’s all for the love of giving back to the sport that we are so passionate about.
So?? What are you waiting for? Who know’s where you will end up, what crowd will be cheering around you or what field you will walk (or sprint like a mad woman) onto.