The third installment of our “Meet Your World’s Refs” series introduces you to a player from one of NAH’s most forgotten regions. Hailing from the Southwest, Robin Cunningham is the unsung hero of World’s Refs. As one of only three refs to sign the volunteer sheet put out before Worlds began, Cunningham showed his commitment and talent all the way through the tournament to the final game. Find out a little more about him here!
321Polo: What is your home club?
Cunningham: Home Club = Albuquerque Bike Polo
321Polo: How long have you been playing bike polo?
Cunningham: I’ve been playing for 4 years.
321Polo: When was the first time you reffed at a tournament?
Cunningham: I first reffed at our own tournament in Santa Fe, NM in April 2010.
321Polo: What do you think of fans heckling you?
Cunningham: I don’t mind the fans heckling me, it can be a bit distracting though. I started reffing soccer when I was very young, so I was used to a minimum of 22 parents yelling at you at the same time. No one is ever happy all of the time.
321Polo: Are there any major changes you hope to see in the reffing world next year?
Cunningham: The major changes I would like to see would be an acceptance of world rules, not just NAH. The NAH/world rules translated into 5 or 8 major languages so everyone can read them. And lastly, hand signals for the 10 major fouls. It can be very hard to tell the players (and fans) what the foul call is when everyone is yelling at the same time. We could adopt a football/hockey style hand signals that would be international. Then there would be no discrepancy with what the actual call was. With the addition of the hand signals would be pointing in the direction of play after a foul. That way the teams can have an idea of which side has possession of the ball. Lastly, if we want to have good refs, then pay them (or honor their efforts with proper respect). When refs are getting paid they will take it more seriously. My final thought is: “You can hate me on the court, but love me off the court.”