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Where oh Where is that little red card?

John Oliva 12/6/2008



I was appointed as a referee for a U18 Girls Canadian National Championship round robin game in October 2008. The weather was cold and rainy, however, the game was on turf, which made field conditions fine, but wet. During the first half of play, I was made aware by a player on the field that my red card had fallen out of my pocket. During the stoppage of play, she was calling me, "ref, ref . . . I think you dropped something" and to make matters worse, she was waving my red card in the air. Very embarrassing. I took the card from the player and put it back into my front pocket. Now, this was my "spare red" that I keep in my front left pocket, as I have my main red in my right rear pocket. Nevertheless, at half time, my AR's and I had a bit of a laugh over it. In all my years of officiating, this had never happened to me. Also, at half time, I debated whether or not to get rid of my spare red but thought to myself, "don't worry about it, it's never happened to me ever, so it's definitely not going to happen twice the same game". About 10 minutes into the second half, I am following play and as I am running down field, I glance over, and there's my red card on the field AGAIN! I just couldn't believe it. What was going on? During another stoppage, one of the players said, "Ref, you lost your red card again". I told her, "just leave it there, it?s my spare, in fact, you'd do me a favour if you would get rid of it". Play continued and apparently this player picked up my red card and threw it over to the sideline, off the field. Before my AR could get to it, the Director of Officials, who was present at the game, made his way to the sideline, picked up the card and looked at the camera saying, "Are you getting this?". I knew nothing of it. At the end of the game, my AR came to center to meet me and said very quietly, "The Director of Officials has your red card!". I said, "WHAT!". She said again, "The Director of Officials has your red card". I could feel my stomach in my throat! After the game, we walked towards the tent on the side of the field and there was the Director who greeted us with, "Good game everyone". He then opened his portfolio and said to me, "I think I have something of yours". I quickly put my hands up and stepped backwards saying, "I have no idea what you're talking about, my red card is here (as I reached into my back pocket and showed my other red)". My AR then stepped in and said, "Oh . . . Wait. . . . I think that's mine". We all had a good laugh about it. Later that evening, during a Post Game Day training session, I was presented with a red card on a lanyard, which I had to wearing for the remainder of the tournament, when I wasn't officiating. Needless to say, it was a humorous incident for all but it was all in good fun! I have since found a better locations for my "spare red".

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