Refereeing, Fireworks and a World Class Hangover!

Posted on November 8, 2011

I had a really busy day on Saturday, followed by a desperately exhausted Sunday. I started the day by volunteering to referee a game featuring Broughton Under 9’s and Wherwell Shooters in front of a healthy crowd at the Broughton playing fields. This was really enjoyable and I think I did pretty well considering the mayhem going on around me, under nine games feature a handful of really talented kids amongst others who sprint around like chickens who have just spotted a visit from the local fox. Some of the tackles would be seen as brutal in a men’s games, but with kids, they are just innocently and often hilariously misjudged. When they are nine years old I am certain that the majority of kids have yet to learn to be malicious with intent, though saying that, I have not witnessed teams from tougher areas of Southampton or Portsmouth yet.

The hardest thing to judge when refereeing is when to stop play and when to try to let it flow, if you blew the whistle for every technical foul in kids football the game wouldn’t progress, it would be just a series of free kicks. I think my only bit of bias involved Megan (Diane’s daughter) juggling the ball with both hands for about ten seconds as I desperately tried to look the other way, and Rosy (Dave’s daughter) scathing through the back of an opposing player in the penalty area, though in fairness she got the ball…..eventually! That’s women for you……..they even get you in to trouble when they are eight years old. At this point Broughton were 6-1 up, so waving play on did no harm really and exactly the same thing had happened at the other end just before and I didn’t punish that either, so it all evened up. Unless it is blatant foul play it is hard to punish a kid for something that is obviously not calculated, whatever side they are on. I will happily do it again, whether I am asked is another question.

On Saturday evening it was time for fireworks on the same field as the football, an event that turned out to be the biggest spontaneous piss up for me this year, featuring the Broughton locals and finishing at around 4.00am  with the attendees including Muscy, Noddy, Bully, Biffo and Viking. It appears that if you live in a Hampshire village for a number of years you have to carry a nickname, it is actually a bit boring just being known as Bob, a nickname of sorts, but not a patch on Viking which is just about as fantastic a name as you can get. Tadley was the same, we had Shaky, Biff, Moose,Whizzer, Nippy, Basher, Topper, Gudgeon and my own personal favourite Pete the Feet, an extraordinary coincidence poetically giving a bloke called Pete size twelve feet. What made this name even better was that for years my old friend John “Boy” Newton thought the name was French and that he was actually called Pete Le Feet. In a piece of personal glory I nicknamed Ian Shaw “Back door Shaw” as he spent most of his time trying to get off with other peoples girlfriends (mine included). In keeping with his name “Back Door” went on to marry his best mates girlfriend.

So, Sunday was a day to deal with a hangover at a football match (Reading v Birmingham City) and I decided to fight fire with fire and have a pint of fizzy keg Courage Best bitter in a plastic container. Quite who had audacity to call it “Best” I don’t know, I can only presume that the Courage marketing department who invented this in the 1960’s was full of executives specifically trained in the fine art of sarcasm and irony….“Oooh that’s fucking disgusting Roger, what shall we call it?….How about Courage Best?”
As soon as it passed my lips, vomit started arriving from the other direction at an alarming rate, leaving me seconds away from throwing up down the back of an innocent supporter in the concourse. I made it to lavatory just in time to discover the previous entrant had suffered chronic diarrhoea, the rest is just a haze of nausea that I can barely write about, such was the hideous detail of its nature. Reading won the game 1-0, but at no point could I find myself actually enjoying it, flashbacks of the toilet and a thumping head put paid to any pleasure on a grey afternoon where it felt like the delayed cold of late Autumn had finally arrived.

When I finally got home, I remembered that I had not been to the supermarket, so I treated myself to a Sunday roast that featured steamed carrots and peas, roast potatoes and cheese on toast, as I didn’t have any meat in the house. I had an orange for pudding in an attempt to get vitamin C in my body and promptly fell to sleep on the sofa from 7pm until 10pm before watching MOTD2 and going to bed at 11.00pm, not waking up until 7.30am on Monday. To feel bordering on normal again was such a relief, but it dawned on me that I just cannot do heavy drinking anymore, my body is saying that enough is enough. On most Fridays I get a bit tipsy after five or six pints, and I have a glass of red most nights, but I haven’t been thoroughly drunk for ages. I now know why, getting drunk is a bit of fun at the time, but the aftermath is no use to anyone, especially me. When I was younger I used to get up and play football on a Sunday morning, now I have to wait until Tuesday to feel normal again. Alcohol is, in reality, the equivalent of a class A drug, the only difference is that it is legal.

So it is now Tuesday and I have been “clean” since the Courage “Best” incident, quite when I will fancy a drink again is anyone’s guess……not for a few more days at least!

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