Referee’ing A Pony Express

It was like the biggest guys were making up the rules as they went along. In that way, the match I refereed at the 30th annual AYSO Corona/Norco Pony Express tournament on Saturday resembled the Wild West.

Already up 3-1, the coaches of the Red Team (two very large men) argued that the Blue Team could not play a goalkeeper for more than two quarters — or one half — of any one match. The started using words like “forfeit” and “filing a complaint.”

I told them, in essence, “Slow down, pard’ner. We don’t want no trouble here.”

The two very large men insisted and so I went to talk to the coach of the Blue Team. Thinking about what I was going to say to him on the jog over, I settled on, “Dude, their talking forfeit if you don’t pull your keeper. What do you want to do?” (Not very Western-sounding, I know.)

He wasn’t ready for an argument on top of a whooping. He started to rattle off something about the injustice of it all but he eventually relented, pulled his keeper for a field player, and promptly allowed another goal.

The very large men had won. The Red Team had taken Tombstone, err the soccer match.

The Blue Team was bitter. Clearly outgunned (they lost 4-1), the coach had been insulted by having replace his keeper on the way to a being run out-of-town. He wanted to argue with me about it some more but I told him, “I’m here to officiate soccer matches, not enforce arbitrary tournament rules.”

Even I know that Wild West sheriffs don’t last very long.

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