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From July 11 to July 21 Netanya, an Israeli city to the north of Tel Aviv and host of the 2018 WC Lacrosse, was overrun by over 2,000 athletes from some 50 countries and thousands of spectators. Among them was Wouter van der Horst, Product Development Manager at MasterShip. Making his debut as a referee at a World Championship, it was obviously a great experience Wouter describes as ‘educational, special and intense’.

Referee courses

In his childhood, Wouter, now 45 years old, tried all kinds of sports ranging from basketball and American football to volleyball and field hockey but never found one that could really satisfy him. This changed when his family moved to the US in 1986 for three years where he got involved in lacrosse. Says Wouter: “I immediately loved the pace and dynamics of lacrosse. Back in The Netherlands, I took up playing in Amsterdam in 2004 and four years later playing and coaching in Nijmegen. As this took up too much time I decided to attend some courses and became a certified referee instead. Two years ago I was able to ‘perform’ during my very first European Championship.”

A culture of its own

“In Netanya, I refereed a total of 9 games that all last about 2.5 hours. That was quite challenging especially when the heat got the best of me. It was well worth it of course, with hundreds or even thousands of spectators and some great and exciting games. I especially enjoyed the match between Norway and Latvia. Luckily lacrosse, that was invented centuries ago by native North Americans, has a culture of its own which is quite different from, say, football (soccer). There is a lot less aggression to deal with, also because referees have the authority to make the teams involved accountable for the behavior of their fans. On top of that, hanging around with no less than 90 fellow referees really felt like being part of a family. Being granted a passe-partout we were able to attend as many games as we liked. And we did!”

Privileged

“Lacrosse may be more popular than ever, budgets are still peanuts compared to sports like football and basketball. So I didn’t come back a richer man, though I am not complaining as room and board and my flight ticket were all paid for. Running a tight schedule, I wasn’t able to do some serious sightseeing, unfortunately. On the other hand, upon arrival in Holland, I was still able to spend a holiday in Denmark with my son. I owe this privilege of five weeks off to our Director Jacques Hoffmans. In return, I will go full steam ahead with all kinds of new and challenging projects!”

Ready to broaden your horizon? Click here to watch the video ‘The Beauty of Lacrosse’

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