My first season of refereeing is in the books, for the most part. I picked up a couple of other non-high school refereeing assignments (one is reffing co-ed intramural games at a local university, grad students mostly, three games, every Thursday night, 100 bucks per night, easy money).
I'll write some more of my high school tales here in the coming weeks. One thing I encountered often, though, was the ball. As in, it flew past me a lot. When I was working alone, I stayed mostly in the middle of the field so the ball was an ever-present obstacle. There were some games recently in which the ball caromed off my leg or thigh or something. One game, the ball nailed me three times in one half. It didn't hurt, but I felt like a moron that couldn't get out of the way of the ball. It's harder than you think, really, to avoid the ball. It's easy to read the game and react to the flow of the game at the JV level for instance. A defender will send a long ball over the top of a group of players but nobody on his/her team is up there waiting for it so you figure the ball will go back down in the opposite direction.
It's when the players can't get out of each other's way that causes problems. Player A tries to dribble through B's defense and Player B takes control, dribbles too long, Player A gets ball back, tries to pass to teammate, stolen by another Player B, who tries to pass it to a teammate out wide - BANG - goes off my leg.
I try to stay as close to the action as possible but not too close because the ball moves around a lot. Sometimes, though, the action gets close to me.
Well, none of the shots I took were very hard. I mean, 15-year-old girls can only kick so hard to begin with. Still, I sympathized with this guy even though his job hazards are much more difficult and potentially damaging than mine.