A sad day!!!!

I took this picture because I found it to be so interesting. You can see the children that have the opportunity to walk out with the players. If you look carefully you can see how small some of them are and although it may not be evident in the picture, they are so happy to be part of the big event. It is so awesome to see the joy that the World Cup brings to the children of the world. I say the world because I know that in my home town of Winnipeg there are children in many areas of the city that, althought they are not at the games like the children in the picture, are really enjoying the World Cup experience.

Here is further evidence that no matter what happens in life the friends you make in the referee world stay with you for ever. In the middle is Mr. Aquino, who was the Paraguayan referee that was at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan and with whom I did a second round match. He was present at the game as he is now in the Paraguayan Referees Committee. Along with us is Oscar who was also at the 2002 WC. Even though we have not been in touch very often the friendship we established in 2002 was quite evident and it was great to see him again.

Our trio at the Paraguay vs Japan match.

Well, in every large FIFA competition there always comes a day when some referees are released from the tournament and others are kept a bit longer. That day arrived on Tuesday, June 29th for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It is really a bitter sweet moment for many referees and there is a lot of us that feel a bit sad, whether you are staying or leaving the feeling is the same. You must realize that for 30 days, actually even much longer than that, most of us have been a huge family. We have been together in a number of competitions for the last four years, some for 8 years, in which we have had great experiences and at times some difficult moments. We have trained together, supported each other, cheered each other on, had enjoyable times on the field of play, applauded each other's successes and learned much about many cultures of the world. Refereeing has brought us together and given all of us much joy.
Now, we must say good by to many good friends and teammates. Who knows when our paths will cross again, but we know that no matter what we have made friends for life. We now that life will carry on and that there are many family members that will be happy to see their loved ones home again. That does not take away the sad moments so easy. We also realize that even though we may be apart we will continue to support each other and pull for "team #33". Those that get to stay will continue to work hard to represent all referees that are part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to the best of their ability.
The sad moments will quickly be replaced by the encouragement provided by each referee no matter whether they are leaving or staying. The referee family will always be "a family" that works tirelessly to be the best it can be!

Above, is a photo of the CONCACAF referees that were able to attend the Paraguay vs Japan match in Pretoria. An opportunity for us to be together as a family and to move on from the news of the departure of some of our family members.

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