Wednesday has brought about our second rest day of the tournament. It seems like we’re having a lot of rest here, but it’s a function of the structure of a qualifying event like this. With only 6 teams competing and FIH rules which limit consecutive days of games to two, there’s going to be a lot of time off.
For the second consecutive time, I was on the first game of the day. Keeping in mind my feedback from the first game, I was determined to sort out the positioning errors and at least get that part together properly. I was also very excited to umpire for the first time with Kang who I’d been at the JWC with last summer.
Rest days are such a conundrum. We’ve been resting, meeting, preparing, eating and sleeping so much between the games over the last two days, we’re so anxious to get out into the world that we find ways to earn air quotes around “rest day”.
It’s been stressed to me countless times by UMs and other mentors: you must have a great first game at a tournament. It’s your first impression with your UM, TD and the teams. That game will largely dictate how the rest of your tournament will go in terms of appointments and whether you’ll get further chances to show what you can do in big games.
The appointments were handed out on Thursday afternoon so I knew early that I wasn’t on the first day of matches, just reserving the middle game of the three. For some umpires, this can be tough to deal with, especially after the Great Wait that we experience at these events. For me, I’ve learned to make the best of it and I just had recent experience where it worked out very well, so I felt good today watching the teams take the pitch for the first time.
Tournaments are a mental grind. Sometimes I wonder if umpiring the games is actually the easiest part – after all, we all have a lot of practise and preparation in doing that – but everything else is more of a challenge.