We spoke a lot about referees this past year. I thought it fitting to let them have the last say. They always do anyway, do they not?
This is a story by one of my all time rugby personalities, Max Boyce. He is as Welsh as you can get. Imagine the Welsh accent as you read this.
This is a rugby version of ‘If’ as it would have been read by Rudyard Kipling if his son had been a rugby referee.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you
If you can trust yourself when all the crowd doubt you
And wonder why you blew.
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting
For tempers to subside
Or being hated – don’t give way to hating
Or favour either side.
If you, can play advantage and bear the crowds derision
And the offer of new glasses as they question each decision.
If you can make one heap of all your expenses
And risk it on the bandit
And lose by holdinq ‘cherries’ and admit you didn’t understand it.
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn when you know your legs have gone
And keep up with play and hope and pray
Some second row will knock on.
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue
Or walk with our committee
And not lose the common touch
Neither foes or toilet rolls can hurt you
All our boys are with you – but none too much.
If you can control that unforgiving minute
With tempers running high,
With a calmness born of knowing why – you disallowed that try.
If you can watch the moment all again;
When they show the game that night
And watch the replay all slowed down
And admit the crowd were right.
THEN… if you ‘Ref’ that side again
And you’re remembered as ‘the one’
I’d get escorted from the ground
If I were you – my son.