Sports

My Side of the Plate: Red card the refs

When playing soccer against Everett during the 2007 season, the Oak Harbor boys team has had a truckload of problems.

The Wildcats were 1-0 winners in an April 21 game at Everett. Surprisingly enough, Oak Harbor’s trials and tribulations with the Seagulls have taken place on the home turf at Memorial Stadium.

In actuality the crux of the Wildcats’ problems has not been with the play of the Seagulls, who sport an “impressive” 1-13 WesCo North record, but rather with the conduct of the crews who were hired to officiate the games.

Back on March 24 the two teams were scheduled to square off in a Saturday afternoon game at the historic playing facility on Whidbey Avenue and guess what? The game was canceled because one of the referees failed to show up.

I don’t know whether there was a mixup in scheduling or the guy simply opted to stay at home on a rainy afternoon and watch the NCAA tournament on television.

Either way the game was postponed and rescheduled for April 25.

As things turned out for the Wildcats, maybe the game should have been postponed all together.

In previous columns I have addressed biased referees, “homers” in sports lingo, but teams usually have to deal with those types of characters when playing away games.

For their efforts, the crew that officiated the Wildcats/Seagulls rematch should have been given yellow cards to match their yellow striped shirts.

Forget about holding, interference or illegal tackles, they made maybe two handball calls during the game.

Shoot, D.C. United doesn’t play that well!

Then there came the goal that never was.

With the score tied 1-1 in the second overtime period, Oak Harbor had a shot hit the crossbar above the Everett goal keeper’s head and drop straight down.

The ball didn’t ricochet up like some of them do when hitting the bar — it hit and came right down.

When a ball does that there is no way it didn’t touch the goal line. That would defy the rule of soccer physics, but the referees waved the score off and play continued.

You hockey fans have seen pucks hit the crossbar and come down, forcing the goalie to get his catching glove parallel to the end line and get leather on the rubber to make the save.

The Everett kid never touched the ball and one of the defenders kicked it out of trouble.

Naturally Wildcat coach Barker was upset by the call. Coach is a yeller at times and I swear he can be heard at least as far as Midway Boulevard, maybe as far as Highway 20, when he gets wound up. But to his credit, he kept his cool.

It doesn’t make any difference that the Seagulls scored a goal later in the period to win 2-1, the game should have been over.

The Wildcats got “hosed,” as we used to say as kids, and deserved to win their third straight game.

Come to think about it, maybe the officiating crew should have been given red cards.

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