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The referee's Christmas tree

Lots of people celebrate Christmas, amongst them lots of referees. Lots of people have Christmas trees and presents. It is a happy time.

We thought we should decorate a Christmas tree for referees while the choir sang a happy carol.

Hark, the referee's secretary rings

Telling the ref'ree wond'rous things

Peace on fields and mercy mild

Ref and players reconciled.

And for the referee, the tree has many glorious presents, more useful than frankincense and myrrh.

1. On the top there is an angel, smiling and holding a whistle. This whistle blows only to start each half and for a clear and obvious stoppage. It is a whistle all players instantly obey.

2. A phone call to tell the referee he has been promoted and will be refereeing at _______________ on Saturday. (Name the ground of your choice.)

3. A smiling prop. When you penalise him at a scrum, he nods approval and says: 'I was in the wrong.'

4. 13 on the bleep test.

5. 100% in the refs' exam.

6. A wife/fiancée/girlfriend/partner who goes to matches with you and thinks you are a hero.

7. A season of unused yellow and red cards.

8. Scrums that never collapse.

9. Players that stay on their feet throughout the match.

10. A perfectly marked field on a dry, windless day – a field that does not churn up at every scrum.

11. Silence.

a. Silence while kicks at goal are being taken.

b. Commentators who do not mention you.

c. And from the crowd not a voice was raised in advice, criticism or insult.

12. No twisted ankles, strained hamstrings, torn calves, flu or fits of depression during the season.

13. Assistant referees/touch judges who are smart and alert to take the place of the bent old man with a can of beer.

14. A losing coach who sticks a smiling face around the change room's door and says: 'That was splendid refereeing. Will we see you for a beer afterwards?'

15. Membership of a society in which there are only happy, smiling, supportive faces and no back-stabbing, one-upmanship or jockeying for position.

And there is a referee fairy buzzing about the tree to add presents.

By Paul Dobson


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