What’s up guys!
Boy, am I flushed ladies and gentlemen.
Just finished an intense weekend running around chasing after underage boys and girls.
No, no nothing malicious or criminal.
Nothing like that, let me explain.
I’m a level 4 Football (soccer) Federation Australia referee (the lowest level but a level nonetheless!)
What that means is that on weekends, when the football season is on – I’m usually shivering my butt off on some wet and cold field early in the morning trying to bring some order amidst the chaos.
Harder than it sounds amigos, hard than it sounds.
And not just one game too… usually I’m there for 3 games… as a minimum.
This weekend, I was on for 6 matches.
Badass… or idiot… you decide.
Honestly though, I wouldn’t have it any other way – refereeing is a fantastic side hustle for anyone who wants to stay physically healthy and mentally fit, oh did I mention that you get paid to do it as well?
For someone who spends a hour or more in the gym every day – this just means that I get paid to exercise – DUH! Of course it makes sense!
But there’s so much more to refereeing than just getting paid, here’s 4 reasons why I think being a referee is a great side hustle choice.
This one is pretty obvious, as a ref – if you don’t move around, you’ll get found out very easily, and when you get found out, things become very, very difficult.
So that’s why it’s imperative to keep on moving to where the action is.
One of the first basics we are taught as referees is that positioning is key. If you’re not in a position to see the play, move to a spot where you can.
When a normal football pitch can be around 100m long and 70m wide – that’s a lot of ground to cover.
If you’re at youth level, multiply that coverage for a good 70/80minutes per game (90 minutes at senior level), and that’s a lot of running for one game.
Next, imagine churning it out for another 3 hours…
Yep – if you want to stay fit, be a referee.
Builds Mental Character.
This is predominantly why I signed up to be a ref, to push the comfort zones.
There’s no love for a referee (just a sucker I am) because in every game, the players, coaches, spectators, everyone – expect you to officiate “to perfection”.
The only issue is that as humans, we can’t be perfect – it’s not in our DNA.
We can strive to be, but technically it can’t happen.
So imagine putting yourself in an environment where everyone expects perfection.
You just can’t win right? There’s always someone vocal about their disagreement of your decisions.
What’s worse is that there’s nowhere to hide if you get a decision wrong – you need to move on and move on quickly from your mistakes.
And at the youth and semi-pro level, there’s no replays, no VAR, no technology to help you out – just plain old quick thinking and quick decisioning.
Resilience, character, confidence, decisioning and mental strength – all sharpened after every game I can tell you.
Expand Social Network.
This is an interesting sidenote I’ve noticed whilst attending the games – that is the number of people you meet and network with.
Amongst fellow referees in our branch we have a wide disparity of members such as students, lawyers, copyrighters, Uber drivers, jewellers, teachers, restaurant owners, property moguls and of course one handsome finance blogger to name a few.
Even at games, I usually end up chatting with a manager or coach or three.
It’s amazing the tidbits of information that you can discern from a couple of hours on the weekend.
Sometimes I feel slightly sheltered with my professional and personal network.
Many of my friends and acquaintances are only in a couple of industries, so it’s great to expand your horizons.
Of course, you do get paid as a referee.
Payment ranges from maybe a few dollars per game at the lowest age group and grass league level, all the way up to WTF… all the way up to 70 THOUSAND for the FIFA World Cup.
But can I say, that you’re dreaming if you think that refereeing is easy and earning seventy grand for 4 weeks work is going to be a walk in the park.
The older I am the more I realize that money flows to those who work hard and enjoy what they are doing.
In fact, if you want to earn money by being a referee and you don’t love the game – then honestly consider your life choices.
Be prepared to have your decisions questioned, scrutinized and objected to everytime you blow the whistle.
Be prepared to cop the abuse and calls from disgruntled spectators, coaches and players.
Be prepared to forget that last incorrect decision you made which cost the home team the game against their bitter rivals.
You can’t just be a ref for the money, that’s all I’m saying.
But, and there is a but – like I said earlier, I can’t see myself giving up refereeing as a side hustle for a while yet.
It’s fun, you’re paid to stay fit, it keeps you mentally strong and you get to meet some fascinating and interesting people, so if you are considering it – give it a go! What have you got to lose?
Now if only FIFA can find me a spare 70 grand…
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