Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Best Ref in the World


While making a presentation about her experience at the last summer's Women's World Cup in Germany, Kari Seitz looked at me and asked, "are you a cyclist?"

I didn't hear anymore she said after that. If you want to get on my good side, just ask me if I'm a cyclist. Here I was in a referee workshop and she recognized me as a cyclist. I wasn't wearing spandex and she didn't see my legs. She saw a cyclist's body - no upper body, strong legs.

Or did she see my phone with its collection of jerseys on the covers?

"Did you bike up Alpe d'Huez?," she asked.

Damn. It was my phone. My phone gave me away.

But Kari Seitz, who is certainly the best female referee in the world, settled into a conversation with me about cycling. And she is a cyclist.

One of these refs is the best referee in the world
Kari told me that if she had retired from refereeing a couple of years ago she would have jumped right into racing. And I'm sure she would have been very good. To be a FIFA Referee you have to be near-world class in both sprinting and endurance running. Plus you have to be a good ref too.

I was able to tell her about my ride up Alpe d'Huez. I told her I have gone over 50 mph on my bike and she one-upped me. She has gone over 60 mph. On a tandem. Her husband is a Cat-2 racer and while they have their own bikes they also have a tandem.

Kari told me they like to go out for recreational rides on their bike and they often see some racer types intent on overtaking them. She said she has a signal and right before they get passed, they put the hammer down and leave them in the dust. She smiled as she talked about how demoralized it leaves them.

While I was somewhat disappointed that I couldn't ride today, meeting Kari Seitz and talking about cycling was a trade off I would make any day.


  1. Not to one up you but just the other day I got a hug from Megan Rapinoe's mom. I realized later that she was just checking out my pecks and abs. It was after I took a long walk to our mail box. She said something to me like, "I hope you are ok." I took that remark as a compliment, cause I've never got that remark from my wife.