Here we are again.

The final stages of yet another football season, here in Malta. What I believe to be the most difficult time of the season.

For us referees, it is the time for tough matches; games that determine the champions of a league, games that determine whether a team gets promoted to a higher section, avoids the drop, or gets relegated.

Us match officials sometimes get comments from various different people that we don’t have any feelings for the players or the clubs. That we are big-headed. And we’re also sometimes accused of schadenfreude (a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction when something bad happens to someone else). They make it seem as if we are some heartless humans, rubbing our hands together in joy whenever a team loses a match. I can tell you that that is definitely not the case. They are wrong in thinking so.

Trust me, there is nothing sadder than watching a football club, whose players and coaching staff have worked hard an entire year to achieve their goals, be relegated. The depressed look on the players’ faces, the tears. That expression of exhaustion and disbelief. The team’s coaches going up to them, giving them pats on the back of consolation. One simply cannot help but empathise with these people. Having experienced such situations first hand on numerous occasions, I really do feel for them. Which is why I usually go up to both the players and coaches, shake their hands, encourage them not to give up on their hopes and goals, whilst also wishing them a sincere “best of luck” and success for the next season. You basically can’t do anything more than that. And I guarantee you, 99%, they’ll appreciate this small, kind gesture of support. They’ll see that you are more than just the guy with the whistle and cards, or flag, in your hands. That apart from being tough, assertive, and disciplined during those 90 minutes of a match, you show empathy.

All this, ultimately, is part of the sport. The unpredictability, passion, and flurry of emotions that football brings along.

The main moral of this post, today, my friends? Just what the title says: you win some, you lose some. A great lesson which shouldn’t only apply when it comes to football, but also in our daily lives.

You can’t always be the victor, the winner, the champion. There are times when you will lose, and have to be ready to accept it. Not only that, but to see the moment of defeat as a sort of wake-up call for you to turn things around, and try harder next time. That is what I call a winning mentality.

– Preston Carbonaro