AN UNEXPECTED EXPERIENCE…

first_imgThey’re the ones we love to hate, the ones who cop our abuse, our dissent, our frustration and just occasionally, our gratitude. But, if the tables are turned, there’s the travel, the people, the fitness and the enjoyment, that make refereeing a great pastime and career. Rick Borg is Australia and the World’s number one touch football referee and he is a firm believer that refereeing is something for all touch lovers to consider becoming involved with. Rick admits he more or less fell into refereeing because the local competition he was playing in was suffering from a shortage of referees. Touch refereeing has been a dream for Rick, who has travelled the world as a referee and made many good friends throughout his career. “I have many great mates, which I have made purely through my involvement in touch. The places I have been I could only have dreamed of, but I can honestly say if it were not for my involvement in touch they would have remained just that- a dream. It’s been both an enjoyable and rewarding career for me,” he says. Rick’s hard work and dedication throughout his rise in touch refereeing was rewarded in 1995 when he rose to the position of World’s Number one Touch Referee, a position he has held firmly for the past 9 years. Throughout his career he has 70 test caps or his country, consisting of 46 World Cup appearances, 21 tests and 3 other internationals; not bad for someone who started refereeing a social competition in Mackay 20 years ago. “I guess the highlight of my career as a referee was just recently when I was inducted in to the Australian Touch Hall of Fame. I was astounded when it was announced and it still brings a smile to my face every time I think about it. It was just such a big honour for me,” says Rick. For junior touch players or students working their way through high school or university, refereeing can provide valuable part time work and the cash you so desperately need. “Certainly it can be a great part time job for teenagers. After all how often do you get paid for doing something you love? But having said that, you must also show a certain amount of commitment as well. I started at a local level and look where it has taken me – far beyond my wildest dreams,” says Rick. Like coaches, it is possible for referees to undertake training courses, working their way through accreditation levels, receiving the training to referee at higher levels and to travel for National and International events. While we encourage our children to take up playing sport for their fitness and health, to build their sense of teamwork, co-operation and sportsmanship and to boost their self-esteem, refereeing is another aspect of touch to consider. “Being a referee has certainly been a boost to my self esteem, I have a sense of confidence and achievement that I would not have experienced if were not for touch refereeing,” says Rick. “I also feel I have gained a lot of respect from fellow referees as well as players. But probably most importantly it has taught me how to be a team player. The skills I will walk away with at the end of my touch career far outweighs anything I would have thought possible,” he says. By Rachel Moylelast_img