I Make the Call

at 11:43 PM
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 (Austin Patel)

We expect adults to be supportive of children, but I have learned that is not always the case. I am 14-years-old, and I am a soccer referee. To become a soccer referee, I had to take a five-session class and pass a 100-question test. I have enjoyed working with the players, but some of the parents have been difficult.

Some parents always seem to find something to complain about at the games, whether they believe it is a “bad” call or an illegal throw in. They believe they know best and feel they have to express their thoughts, just to help their ten year old to win a soccer game.

Last month, at an early morning soccer game, the parents were particularly vocal. I was the only referee at the game, which made it quite a challenge, and some of the parents made it even more difficult. The gray team scored on the white team with just seconds left. Unfortunately, a few parents began to yell complaints saying that the play was offside. I began to second-guess myself. It was nerve racking with the parents shouting yelling out their own opinions and no other referee to help me.

I am used to being told by adults what is right or wrong, but my time as a referee has taught me that people my age can also have authority. When I first started, I succumbed to the pressure of the parents, letting them influence my calls, but I have changed since then. Ignoring the comments from parents is difficult, but I have learned to do so as I have gained more experiences as a referee. I have come to realize that I need to trust my own instincts and not be swayed by others around me. 

During the game last month, something of me changed. I started to believe in myself and believe realized that I knew what was right. I had to have confidence in my decisions and not be fazed by others. I continued the game disregarding the derogatory remarks sent my way.


This was my call, not theirs.

With a perspective, I’m Austin Patel.

Austin Patel is an eighth grader at the Kent Middle School in Kentfield.