The Big Freeze

Now, I am pretty sure that I am no ice-queen (or at least not often!) but I can honestly tell you that this here is a big long yarn about how I completely and utterly freeze, even on the nicest of days. This sort of freezing isn’t the sort where goosebumps pop up all the way up and down your arms and cause shivers to force their way down your back, but the sort of freezing that occurs in the middle of something important, like refereeing a rugby game. There could be 50 plus people watching and 30 other people trying to play a game of rugby around me and it will happen right when I don’t need it to and everyone finds their eyes glued to me, when in reality I should just be number 31 not center of attention. This blog is my honest experience of my brain completely failing to function when there is a decision that needs to be made and 50 billion people are yelling at me 700 different things from 5 different angles and directions ALL. AT. ONCE! Insert here… Larissa freezing. Mid- game.

This often happens when there is a decision that needs to be made that I haven’t had to make before or in a long time, meaning that I don’t have a process formed in my head that I can naturally go through to get to the right decision. Which means that I have to rely on my knowledge that has been pushed to the back of my brain with cobwebs crowding it’s clarity. For example, a process for me at a tackle is has it been made? Yes. Has the tackler rolled away? Yes. Has the opposition player come in the gate? Yes, fair game. Has the tackler released the ball? No, penalty (or advantage). However, in one of these horrible moments of referee failure, I don’t have this to fall back on. A defender charges down a kick out of in-goal put in-goal by the attackers, and the ball goes dead. (Silent FUDGE moment here). I take the time to think who took it in, what is the freaking answer to this problem………. And everyone blows up with their opinion of whether it is a 22 drop out or a 5m scrum and I cannot hear my own brain thinking because everyone is trying to be it themselves. FREEZE! This is where I tell everyone to mind their bees wax and let me think. This WHOLE process looks like a dogs breakfast, however I have no way to stop it at this point in time, unless I make up a process for this particular occasion. It sucks. The main thing is that the correct decision is eventually made and the game can continue.

I have hear of this, or similar occurrences happen to others and it obviously happens to me, so how the hell do we all prevent these terrible looking moments?! The answer for me is, like I said, creating a process for it. Organising my brain so that it has a checklist of rights and wrongs so that ultimately the correct decision is made naturally and within a MUCH shorter time-frame. Now, when this happens to me in a game, my coach and I have decided that the best option is to write is down with the process so that coming into future games I can mentally look at this an blow my whistle. The only problem with this solution is the shitty fact that I have to be completely mind boggled first, before I realise that there isn’t a process tucked away in my brain and I need to create one ASAP. So this isn’t exactly ideal.

For anyone to prevent this ‘Oh Shit’ moment all you really need is to have a good base knowledge of the law that is being refereed and have a clue about how you function in relaying that law on the field. The law allows you to make the right decision even though it may take that time, but it means that you don’t waste their time AND get it all wrong. The last thing from me is to move on. Yeah, you may have just made a fool of yourself… (I am the first to admit this great feat), melt away those worries, the moment has passed and you have more moments coming up that need your full focus that you do know how to manage. This is still a massive learning that I am undergoing and still having trouble with, however if I don’t move on in a game I find that the freeze frosts over the rest of my game and ruins the whole thing. Don’t let the cold snap catch you out, know your law, know yourself and melt away your worries because there are plenty more games to referee next week.

Peace out,


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