Monthly Archives: January 2012

Acing My Advanced Assessment

I recently attempted my AYSO Advanced Referee Assessment. It was one of my New Year’s resolutions (see post below) and I aced it, achieving the goal within the first month of 2012.

The game on which I was assessed was a U-14 Boys Semifinal at the AYSO Area N Spring Select playoffs, and pitted San Bernardino vs. Beaumont.

I got off to a fantastic start by forgetting the game cards at the administration booth. I had to run back to grab them; my ARs and my assessor certainly talking about me all the while.

I hustled back and proceeded to into my pre-game. I used a cheat sheet (which my assessor actually liked) but I’ll have to remember to slow down when I speak next time. I felt rushed for some reason.

I then had my ARs perform the field check while I checked the players. That went well, as usual.

I blew the whistle for the game to begin.

10th minute: I call a PK for Beaumont after No. 7 was held and tripped entering the penalty area. His teammate’s kick is saved by San Bernardino’s keeper.

14th minute: San Bernardino marches down the field and after a brief scrum for the ball inside the goal area, No. 11 pounces on a bouncing ball to give his team a 1-0 lead.

28th minute: San Bernardino adds to its lead when No. 12 chases down a long ball, stops, turns and fires a shot from outside the 18 that his teammate calls “sick.”

35th minute: Halftime. No complaints. Though Beaumont’s No. 7 wanted me to keep an eye on San Bernardino’s No. 10. “Will do,” I say.

The game resumes and it’s more of the same; San Bernardino playing long ball onto the feet of their slick forwards.

38th minute: I verbally admonish Beaumont’s No. 14 for taking down San Bernardino’s No. 9 near the goal line but outside the area. “You guys need to calm down. Especially you!” I say to No. 14.

51st minute: Beaumont’s best player is taken down at midfield. Stepped on but successfully able to pass to his left, I call “Keep playing! Advantage!” and put my arms up. The player who receives the pass is then also fouled so I whistle to stop play but the ball and the players were still moving.

I can very clearly see the injured player from the first foul on the ground at a distance of 4-5 yards. After the knuckle-headed players finally stop the ball I ran over to the player and ask if he needs his coach. I repeat. He doesn’t say anything. He then gets up, walks off and says “Man, he stepped on my ankle.”

66th minute: San Bernardino tacks on one more when No. 8 finishes off another long ball by tucking it in the lower right corner of the goal. Beaumont is clearly deflated at this point.

71st minute: I blow my whistle, ending the game. All the players walk off the field, some more quickly than others. The post-game handshakes go off without a hitch, and the coaches, well-behaved throughout, shake my hand and thank me.

In conclusion, I’m actually surprised it was an assessable game. I did award a PK, but I didn’t issue a single card. That’s usually a staple of an assessable game. But then again, maybe I did the job of confronting issues before they escalated; I do think my stern warning to Beaumont’s No. 14 kept him in line.

So, yes. I passed. Didn’t get a single negative mark, in fact.

Maybe I am getting better at this.

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“It’s Always Sunny…” The Best Ever?

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

What a show!

It’s twisted fetishes and alcohol-fueled debauchery make it one of the most depraved situation comedies to ever hit a screen, and now it’s scoring in syndication.

First shot on a camcorder and aired on FX in 2006, the show has reached a deal to show re-runs on Comedy Central and WGN Chicago. And even though the show has now moved to full HD production in its seventh season, the gimmicks and stunts haven’t been allowed to go stale. To the contrary, they’ve only become more bizarre and fascinatingly idiotic.

The main characters of “It’s Always Sunny,” Glenn Howerton, Rob McIlhenney, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito are a estranged family running a Philly pub in and out (mostly out) of solvency. A filthy hell-hole of a tavern, Paddy’s Pub is owned by DeVito and run by Howerton and McIlhenney. Olson plays smarmy bartender and Day the lynch pin as janitor.

DeVito as father is madness, and Howerton, Day and Olson are lucid in their respective roles as his maladjusted and sordid children. McIlhenney is the only person unrelated to the insanity, though he’s no less retarded.

The group invests in scheme after scheme, the characters get hooked on illicit drug after drug, and the psychosis of Howerton somehow ties it all together.

I used to think “Seinfeld” was great. Then I got stuck on “The Office.” I’ve even had a recent fling with “Big Bang Theory,” but “It’s Always Sunny…” has garnered a place in my cannon of great modern sitcoms.

And at 84 episodes and counting, there’s precious little new time left with these characters. The show must have, what, three seasons remaining before the actors divest (sans DeVito) and seek movie careers? Day has already tasted big-screen success following his hilarious role in “Horrible Bosses” in 2011.

Whatever lies ahead for “It’s Always Sunny,” the show has already provided me with more smirks and sardonic laughs than any other. Such is my scope for measuring quality non-sports programming.

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