Rugby Losing The Battle

Leah Berard
Leah Berard

A good friend of mine, and top ranked Women’s Rugby Referee, is going to Ireland this week.  She will be Reffing the Ireland v. England Women’s Six Nations match.  She will also attend the Men’s match.  I was thinking this morning about how much I’d like to be in Dublin to see that match.  What could possibly be better?

Strangely enough, when I really asked that question, I did think of something better.  On the same day in Germany.  I realized that I would rather be in Dortmund.  I would rather watch a Soccer match!  Given a choice between the best possible Rugby and the best possible Soccer…really?

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Finding The Inner Referee

santamonica_rugby_crop_001I’ve refereed Rugby for over 10 years.  I, of course, played for longer than that.  No matter what USA Rugby may think, nobody can understand Rugby enough to referee without long experience in the game.  All you Rugby parents who don’t pick up the whistle:  I completely understand.

I got into reffing when I was too old to play the game.  By the same token, I was too old to advance very far as a Referee.  I didn’t care, and still don’t.  I wanted some reason to stay in shape and get out to a Rugby match every weekend.  After my first two or three matches I forgot that I was a “beginner.”  I stopped worrying about the calls I might have missed.  I was in the flow of the game and enjoying myself.  I ran, jogged and walked over four miles every Saturday without even thinking about it.

It was five years ago that I was brought into the Executive Committee of my Referee Society.  A friend of mine was staging some sort of coup at the Annual Meeting.  He hadn’t discussed it with me in advance and I knew nothing of the politics within the Society.  I said yes and became Vice President.

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