I have in the past been very critical of the performances of some referees in terms of their inconsistency in applying the rules of the game. Go along to any GAA match and listen to supporters, managers or players and depending on which team they are following and how the game is going will determine in many cases how they feel about the referee and his performance. Refereeing is a far from easy job and the vast majority of officials I see are trying to handle the game as fairly as possible. However human nature being what it is, the standard and consistency of officiating can change from week to week depending on who the man in the middle is. This is true not only of junior or underage referees in our county but even at the very highest level in inter county football and only a fool would deny that the performance of the man in the middle can have a major influence on the result of a game.
I used to think that anyone who wanted to be a referee needed to have some sort of sado- masochist tendencies to put him or herself through that sort of torture on a weekly basis. At one stage I would have considered it to be the most difficult job in our association. However my opinion on that has changed slightly of late and that is mostly due to my experience in watching Scor and seeing some of the adjudications that take place in this competitions.
Just like our footballers or our hurlers, Scor competitors put a huge amount of effort into preparing for their competition. Within Tyrone there is usually a preliminary round, a semi final and then the county final in Scor. To get to a county final in Tyrone requires a fair degree of talent and massive commitment from the individuals and groups concerned. Therefore when a decision goes against a team in Scor you can understand the deeply felt disappointment at not getting what you feel your performance deserves .In Scor there is no chance as in football or hurling to regain the lost ground. There is no second half, no possibility of extra time or a replay just the gut wrenching realisation that all the time, effort and commitment given over to fine tuning your act has been for nothing.
Taking part is important and of course there can only be one winner but if you ask some of the young competitors who took part in last week’s county final, their parents or their club cultural officer, they might have a different opinion about the importance of that particular point of view.
Let’s be honest, most of us enter competitions wanting to win and the hurt and disappointment of losing can be very hard to take especially when you feel the officials in charge got the key decisions wrong. Luckily for the Scor adjudicators they are usually long gone from the hall by the time the decisions are announced and unlike the poor old referee they don’t get barracked by the crowd as they leave the venue. It should be kept in mind that these decisions can be very subjective and based on personal preference and therein lies the problem. Just like the referee in football or hurling, there will be plenty of people around who will criticise the decisions of the adjudicator and question their thinking. I have done it myself and been on the receiving end of such decisions and it can be a bitter pill to swallow. Sometimes you feel like giving it up altogether but if you decide that is how to deal when decisions go against you then you should remember the old saying “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”It is a bit like riding a bike and falling off. The best way to deal with it is get back on the bike as soon as possible. Unfortunately for Scor competitors, especially in Scor na nOg, there may be no second chance to “right the wrong” and those disillusioned young people could be lost to the association for good.