VAR

Video Assistant Referee, it’s the bane of many soccer matches on any given day. Look, I get that many, if not most (all?) of you don’t really care about soccer, but trust me, I’m going somewhere here.

My team in the English Premier League is Arsenal (for now, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish!). We play on weekends and since the games take place in jolly old England, it often means getting up rather early to watch a game. Yesterday we had a 5:30am kickoff.

I know that me getting up early, putting on my lucky clothes (which don’t get washed unless we lose), and parking in front of the tv guarantees absolutely nothing, but still, I feel like I deserve a win after that kind of Herculean effort.

My day started with a quiet celebration of an early goal. I was very happy, but the rest of the house was still sleeping, so I kept a lid on it. Then VAR threw a wet blanket in the festivities. It’s seems, upon review, that one of our players had a toe in an offside position before we scored. Seriously, a toe, not the whole foot, just a toe. Now instead of being up 1-0, we were back to a tie.

The whole thing with VAR is that it is supposed to fix “clear and obvious errors” in the game. I agree that the rule says that a player’s entire body must be behind the defender, but when everything has to be done in stop time footage with computer lines to see that one toe when over the line we have broken the spirit of the game.

In recovery (now he’s back on track…) we can often fall under the scrutiny of other people and their VAR. People love to monitor our activity and see how it matches up to their opinions. It can be discouraging at times. But one overturned call does not need to set the tone for the rest of the game.

We got “robbed” by VAR at the beginning of the match, but with about 60 seconds left we scored a goal to tie the game. It wasn’t the final result that we hoped for, but we made the best of the situation. Don’t let the VAR folks in your life bring you down. They serve a purpose. Just put your head down and…

—Rise Up!!

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