THE MYSTERIOUS LIVES OF SOCCER REFS

So, I have this rather quirky theory that there exists a highly secretive society of international soccer referees…with unadvertised, unpublicized and unrecognized chapters in every “corner of the globe” (stupid expression that makes no sense).

I envision it to be a cult-like organization…a mysteriously dark and sinister brotherhood (I realize that this is an unfortunately-very-gender-specific word. Perhaps you’d prefer that I use either “bristerhood” or “otherhood”? Please get back to me on that)…and I imagine it to be an undercover coterie of miserably somber, absolutely humorless individuals collectively bent on world domination. Think of The Masons or The Elks…just a whole lot more twisted, creepy and dangerous…and a whole lot less fun to hang around with.

Yet, I feel quite certain that “The Zebras” (as I really hope they call themselves) must have all the same kind of accoutrements as their fellow oddball fraternal organizations…all of the pomp and ceremony…all the crazy get-ups, mystical words and symbols. And don’t forget about the fancy hats and secret handshakes. They probably have their clandestine meetings in large, outwardly insignificant concrete buildings filled with overwhelmingly-opulent and highly-ornate crimson, gold and pink décor. And they undoubtedly have regular “zoom calls” beamed directly into their sacrosanct “referee rooms” at stadiums all over the world so that they can all listen to the rantings of their diminutive yet demanding leader (who I imagine to look an awful lot like Nikita Khrushchev), the one they call The Grand Supreme Mystic Whistler™.

I envision him wearing a very impressive, full-size stuffed zebra head hat…a true marvel of modern taxidermy…and loudly demonstrating his power and authority by “red-carding” well-known world leaders and other public figures in the arts and financial communities…thereby condemning them to death.

My suspicion is that this very silent and strange organization has actually been in existence since the time of the Aztecs and, although I certainly can’t prove it, has been responsible for the untimely and often mysterious deaths of many of the coolest people in human history…including all of the Aztecs. Since soccer referees are, by definition, incredibly uncool and unpopular people, it doesn’t seem too farfetched to think that they may all harbor a deeply rooted hatred of individuals who might be generally considered “ubercool” (this spiffy little word is hereby trademarked and protected by international copyright law).

Now…for the next few moments, please imagine that I am the guy who does all the narrations and voiceovers on shows like Ancient Aliens and Book of Secrets, and allow me to assume an ominously conspiratorial tone…

“Could the shrouded-in-secrecy, darkly-mysterious Zebras have been singularly responsible for the untimely deaths of greats like Oscar Wilde, Bob Marley and John Lennon…all of whom were well-known “football” fans? And who exactly was it pulling the strings on the assassination of President Kennedy? What about the shocking, unsolved death of Princess Diana? Who gave all those barbiturates to Marilyn Monroe and Elvis? And who cooked up the recipe for the speedball cocktail that killed John Belushi? Just ask yourself if a creepy, power-mad weirdo who felt constantly disrespected and unappreciated wouldn’t have absolutely loved the idea of putting a bullet in the head of George Reeves…the original Superman himself?

Why, you may ask, would the world’s seemingly superfluous and awkwardly flamboyant soccer referees feel a burning desire to overthrow governments and work behind the scenes to seize control of the media and the military? Could it be that they feel hated, ignored, disrespected and unappreciated? Clearly, they are generally thought of as nothing more than pompous pariahs…as lepers…as talentless, worthless parasites whose sole purpose it has always been to make “the beautiful game” a whole lot uglier.”

Did that that sound a bit harsh?Well…think of it this way. From the perspective of virtually every player, coach and fan, soccer referees are nothing more than an obstruction, a distraction…a complete nuisance hell bent on ruining the game. They prance around on the pitch with their chests all puffed out and their shorts invariably one size too small…blowing their nasty little whistles and brandishing their scary little red and yellow cards. And they seem to do it all in the interest of demonstrating just how incredibly powerful…how magnificently all-seeing and all-knowing they truly are.

Do you think anyone other than another soccer ref ever wants to go grab a beer with them? Do you think anybody wants to have a referee for a “wing man”? Do you think there has ever been a soccer referee invited to “Career Day” at school? Of course not. They would get lynched!

Imagine their lives “off the pitch”. Can you envision the contents of their closet, with all the variously nauseating colors of their referee shirts all freshly cleaned and pressed, and two dozen pairs of identical black shorts all hanging on tidy little hangars…and their “special drawer” that holds their lovely little card wallets and whistles and watches…and tightly furled flags…all the “tools of the trade”. And don’t you imagine that it’s all kept “just so”?

Here’s a very meaningful little excerpt from a fascinating website that apparently caters to the entire world of soccer referees…

“When you blow your whistle, all eyes and ears are on you – and rightfully so!”

This is clearly what a ref dreams of…what gives him (or her) a raging hard on. To be the absolute center of attention…if only for a moment or two…despite the fact that you are absolutely incapable of playing or coaching or commentating. The soccer referee clearly lives for the moments when he can stand there arrogantly, and sternly signal for you to step forward and receive your punishment…and then thrust that bright little red card high into the air and sentence you to death.

I’ve never actually met a “pro”…but even youth soccer and high school refs tend to lean toward the maniacal. I’ve never encountered one that wasn’t a completely weird or prissy little control freak…nice enough people, but all just a wee bit “off”.

My research continues…

Did you know that Sirhan Sirhan (the Jordanian who killed Bobby Kennedy), Gavrilo Princip (the Serb who killed Archduke Ferdinand thereby starting the First World War) and Nathuram Godse (fellow Indian who killed Mahatma Gandhi) were all very well regarded soccer referees?

And how about the most famous fucking perfekte fusballschiedsrichter of them all…the only man in history to actually red-card an entire race of people…the man, the myth, the legend… Adolph Hitler.             

OK…so maybe I made all that shit up.

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