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Sir? Do I call you Ma'am? Thoughts of a female rugby referee's first competitive match in charge.

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Newbie Referee Sara Rosenthal officiates her first matrix match
Newbie Referee Sara Rosenthal officiates her first matrix match
Hilton head Rugby

Sir! Sir! Do I call you Ma'am?

Being the guy with a whistle in his mouth and throwing his arms in the air -- when not fist pumping in the club -- is really a thankless job. Even if you do get to play with those pretty colored cards -- or dangling them like the sword hanging over Damocles -- being the official for amateur rugby is not the most glamorous of hobbies.

So why would a former Women's rugby player want to step into those shoes and battle 30 guys or girls on a Saturday?

For one, it's simple. "Because I love rugby. I can't play anymore and I'm not done with the sport"

Sara Rosenthal is a former Georgia Southern and Savannah Shamrocks rugby player who is well known and well liked in the Southeastern US rugby community.

Saturday she refereed her first competitive matrix match, officiating a tight contest between Division 3 powerhouse Hilton Head RFC and a resurgent Golden Isles club. Hilton head took the match 20-12.

She admitted being nervous before the game, as she was when she was a player, and more so because it was a matrix match.

"I was more nervous," she said. "To be honest, through the years Hilton Head has been the top competitor in D3 and Golden Isles is fairly new. So I thought you know - Hilton Head was going to win hands down. It didn't happen like that. At the end of the first half the game was tied 12 - 12."

A one-sided blowout might have been an easier first assignment, but Rosenthal says she enjoyed the pressure.

"When you know it's going to be a close game people are more sensitive to close calls or calls that could have resulted in a try," she explained. "You start thinking back on things and wondering how you can do better or what you would have maybe done differently. In all honesty I think I called a fair game."

Rosenthal purposely set a friendly tone with the captains pre-game, but didn't hesitate to assert her authority.

"When I called the captains together, I assured them that I do not currently have PMS," she said. "I think they could have been a little apprehensive about having a female ref so I just wanted to make light of it.

"I threw my first yellow card," she added. "The guy deserved it, so that was good. I have always worried about throwing my first card."

So, what is next for one of the newest Ma'ams in rugby?

"There's a feeling that I want to be better than I was last match," she said."I know that there are people that thought I did a bad job and some that thought I did a good one. That's the name of the reffing game!! Can't please everyone."

Comments

  • Wendy 4 years ago

    Love this article! I too have recently become certified (well I guess it been a year) and love reffing men's games. They are quick and fast but particularly messy around the breakdowns.

    Good luck and keep it up!

    Thanks,
    Wendy

    scrumhalfconnection . com

  • SC Rugby Examiner 4 years ago

    Thanks Wendy,
    I'm glad you liked it. We minor rugby bloggers humble ourselves to the mighty YSC!

    SC Rugby Examiner

  • Mixlissa 4 years ago

    Way to go Sara! Nicely done. I am glad you weren't PMSing that could have hindered your judgement!