Wanted: More touch referees who love the game
Referees - love them or hate them - are needed in every sport.
Without a referee, a game cannot take place.
With touch season in full swing, the squeeze on finding referees for every adult game in Invercargill and Queenstown gets harder and harder. Those who referee touch every week are like most referees in any other sport - volunteers who love the game.
Many Touch Southland referees have been officiating for over a decade and their time and dedication goes largely unrewarded.
In return for their dedication, most probably cop more verbal abuse than accolades.
Do not get me wrong, it is fine for people to be competitive.
I will be the first to admit I can get frustrated with decisions.
However, sometimes you need to bite your tongue and get on with it. Most adult touch games in Southland are deemed to be social, so for a referee to be consistently told how to do his or her job is unacceptable.
Players do not hear referees giving them advice if they make a mistake, so it makes sense for the same to be applied on both sides.
This was partly why, last season, Touch Southland introduced a $5 payment to referees per team, per game.
With 10 players in a team, the total amount is 50c per player.
In other centres around New Zealand, including Wellington, a $10 payment system per team has been implemented.
With several referees starting to move on from the whistle role, it is becoming harder and harder to find the same number of people to replace them.
Refereeing can be made enjoyable with two willing, well-mannered teams.
So if you are interested in wanting to referee the odd game of touch in Invercargill or Queenstown, you can call the office on 03 211 2255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.