Volunteer referees are at the heart of community sport. They encourage honest competition and playing with respect, friendship and team spirit.
There have been some really good positive stories about refereeing recently. In the Otago Daily Times, there was a great article about ex-premier player, Tumua Ioane, who has made the transition from player to referee this year. Tumua is young (26) and has set himself a goal of being a Rugby Sevens referee at then next Olympics. We hope he makes it.
The decision to include sevens at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has opened up a new avenue for specialist sevens referees. If it encourages guys like Tumua to get involved then that’s a good thing.
But it’s not all about the elite level. Refereeing is also good way to keep fit and keep involved in the game. A good example is Roger Hill from Alexandra who has decided to hang up the whistle following 22 years of service to Otago Rugby in both Metro and Country. So we wont be seeing Roger in Rio – but that’s not what motivated him. Hilly got involved because he’s a community minded guy who enjoyed the banter and friendships that came with it. When we looked through all the comments of the Otago Community Rugby Facebook page after he announced his retirement you could see how much of an impact he had had and just how much his service was appreciated. A good example was the following comment:
“Best wishes, one of the better refs I’ve struck over a few decades of involvement. Often a thank less job but deep down all of the rugby family appreciate the effort and sacrifice that the man in the middle contributes for without you we don’t have a game. thanks and regards.“
Good on you Roger and thanks to all the dedicated volunteer referees who give their time and skill on winter mornings and keep the game fair and fun for everyone.
The Otago rugby referees association are always interested in recruiting former players who have recently finished playing because they can bring experience and nous about the game. Anyone interested in becoming a referee should check out the Otago Rugby Referees Association website to find out more.