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The Sideline Whisperer
 
 
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Mark Hawkins
Born in United Kingdom. Mark is a grade C1 referee. He lives in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County.
You may contact him at 727-481-5116 or HawkeyeUSA@gmail.com.
 
Sir, may I ask you a question?
Updated on 8/27/2012 6:36:40 PM

Tell us a little about yourself: age, place of birth, current occupation.

—Born in Oakham, UK in 1964. Moved to Florida in 2000 and run my own Marine Sales & Service Business ( HMarine Inc)

What is you background as a rugby player?

—Played at school, Wellington Public in Somerset, at age 11, then for Wellington Colts (U 19) from age 15 playing against and with some who went on to be full Internationals and even current International coaches. Made Wellington 1st XV at 19 years old playing throughout South West England and player of year in 1988. Moved to Peterborough, Cambridgeshire in 1994 and played County finals, then to Oxford two years later where I played for 2 years and then coached. Moved to Florida in 2000 and joined the Pelicans. Traveled extensively throughout Europe on tours and Hong Kong Sevens in 1995.

Why did you decide to become a referee?

—To give back to the sport that we all love and has given my so many irreplaceable memories. And you can never walk away from something you love so much.

Did you have some kind of mentor?

—Always liked Jeremy Guscot and Stewart Barnes, and yes, I spent some great times with them.

Do you remember your first game as a referee? How did it go? Any funny or special memory?

—Too many to remember them all, but seeing a "try scored" 5 meters out (wrong line) will never cease to amaze and amuse.

What was the most memorable screw up?

—Saw a very talented winger run 90 yards, weave past everyone, walked under the posts and dropped the ball forwards. Also, Will Carling, ex England captain at Twickenham Sevens, ran in to the try zone and instead of putting the ball down, tried to cut back to nearer the post. The London Scottish defender, literally picked him up with one arm and threw him into the crowd behind. Cries of "What a wanker" were sung by 80,000.

Which is the one game you most remember of your career?

—As a player in Wellington our local derby match against Wiveliscombe is the second oldest fixture in the RFU dating back to 1874 (yes Eighteen hundred and seventy four). Playing in that Boxing Day game with the biggest crowd of the season will make the hairs on anyones neck stand on end. But to captain the team, score a try and win the match ... well that never fades away.

How well do players and coaches in Florida know the laws of the game?

— It's getting better. And the dedication of coaches and refs has helped tremendously

What is your opinion in general of the attitude of players towards the referees in Florida?

— There are too many elements of lack of respect and/or discipline. There's only one opinion that matters on the pitch and , be it right or wrong, it is the referees. To see fighting within a team because of petulance really is embarrassing for the team and the sport.

As a referee, have you made more friends or foes?

— Always have had friends and just keep growing the list. If you make foes there is more than something wrong with your refereeing abilities.

Does being able to watch a game on video help you improve your skills?

— Yes, especially as the games gets faster and more intense. It allows you to see how others manage themselves.

What are the most rewardings aspects of being a referee? And the least?

—Most: Seeing players develop the abilities from year to year. Least: Those that think they are "god" and do not understand the philosophy of the beloved game.

If you have had the opportunity to ref a match oversees, how was that experience?

— Did so when I live in England and obviously it's structured a little better.

What would you tell a player to encourage him becoming a referee?

— Just as on the pitch as part of a team, everyone has a place in rugby should they decide to adopt and embrace the game. You don't need to be a great from the past, there's a lot of reward mentally and physically to being to provide an environment for 30 or so players to enjoy the sport. The referee does that.

Any final thoughts or comments about being a rugby referee?

— Love it !!! Still love playing, but love being out on the pitch enabling others to enjoy what I have done for 37 years. Reliving some great memories but also creating some new.

 

Code updated: 08/17/2017 19:04

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