As Henry Darmstadter comes home each Friday night after a rough Friday night varsity football game, he hits the hay. He goes to sleep not because he’s just tired, but because he has to wake up at 8 a.m. to get ready to referee soccer.
“Personally, I hate refereeing; it’s boring, somewhat slow, and it’s on a Saturday morning,” said Darmstadter. “It’s more fun to play than it is to ref, but you can make a lot of money in a fairly short amount of time.”
Henry refs U8 (under 8 years old) boys and girls most of the time. He doesn’t ref that much during the game, but he mostly coaches.
“There are some points in the game when I have to teach the kids a little bit, they are just learning the game so I think that I should do some teaching as well as the little refereeing I have to do,” said Darmstadter. “Not a lot happens in the games, and they’re not intense so they’re easy to manage.”
There is always one point in a game that the ball or a player kicks another player, and then he or she starts to cry.
“I hate it when that happens, I realize that it is part of the game for little kids, but it usually becomes a disaster,” said Darmstadter. “I remember one game when the mother of the child ran onto the field in the middle of the game.”
Even when this chaos happens, Darmstadter has to keep his nerve and get everything under control. Refereeing is helpful because he learns how to deal with conflict.
“When I ref teenagers, fights break out, and I have to break them up,” said Darmstadter.
He also does not have to make too many controversial calls when he refs soccer, unlike the NFL replacement referees. As you probably have seen, the NFL had a lockout with its referees for the first three weeks of the season. Nobody really had a problem with them until the third week. In the Monday Night Football game between the Packers and Seahawks, they blew a call that cost the Packers the game.
“I have really never been put in a spot like that when I have refereed a soccer game,” said Darmstadter. “You got to feel sorry for the guy, he cost Green Bay the game.”
The NFL and Referees finally came to a resolution this past week, and the real refs were able to take part in these past games.
Even though Darmstadter hasn’t had anything like this happen, he still has a very difficult job.
Once he is finished refereeing, and has a whole Saturday ahead of him, with a few extra bucks in his pocket.