Tuesday, January 21, 2020

How do you know when it's time to move on?

For the last several years, I've been debating 'retiring' from soccer, both refereeing and coaching. I began officiating soccer when I was 15 years old, and it was my first job. I loved going out to the park and refereeing the little kids. It was cool when they all looked up to me, but that was a long, long time ago. Twenty-five years to be exact. I am 40 years old now.

More recently, I found myself asking the question "What am I doing here?" during high school soccer matches. I particularly remember my last match in 2017. I was doing a girls game at Evergreen High School in Metamora, Ohio and we were in the middle of nowhere. It was a peaceful night in a low-level, end of the season contest. I had a lot of time to think, and the entire match I just kept asking myself the same question...

What am I doing here?

It didn't help that my marriage was at that time falling apart. Soccer season always seemed to put a strain on our home life, but this season there seemed to be something more to it. Weeks prior, while my wife was in New York City visiting her brother, a match that I had been working (because I stayed home to make that money) got so out of control that the Assistant Athletic Director escorted me and my partner to our cars.

I asked the question all weekend...What the hell am I doing here? Instead of having fun in New York City, I decided to stay home to get harassed on a soccer field for 7 matches. In hindsight, it was really stupid.

This past June, I decided to quit refereeing once and for all (with the exception of a few payday tournaments here and there). I remember the exact moment that it hit me that this would be my last match - that my referee career was finally coming to an end.

I stuck around after the match to take this picture for the 'Gram...click the picture to read my caption from June 3rd. I haven't officiated a match since.

I was working a match at the Total Sports Rossford Dome, and as I'm in the center, I just had this overwhelming feeling that I can't do this anymore. Twenty minutes into the match, and I couldn't wait until it was over. I was losing focus during the match because all I could think about was...

This has to be it. I have to be done after this game.

So, how do you know when it's time to move on?

It's different for everyone, but I think it starts by getting inside your own head and coming up with an honest answer to the question "What am I doing here?". If your answer is "I don't know" or "I hate doing this", it's probably time to move on. Don't wait another 2-3 years like I did to make the decision. Life's too short to be miserable doing something you don't enjoy.

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