Have you ever wondered who makes sure that the clock works, or that the teams are wearing colours that do not clash? Just who does provide the statistics on numbers of penalty corners or the minute a goal was scored. Well, working behind the scenes are a whole team of technical officials and judges. We speak to 38-year-old Adrienne Lijs, who is just 24 days from stepping up to judge her first World Cup.
What pathway have you followed to reach the heights of WC judge?
In May 2005 my own club Amsterdam asked me to assist on the secretarial activities for the officials at the European Club Championship for men. In July 2010 I was asked to act as a local judge during an invitation Four Nations tournament. Afterwards I did the U18 European Championship in Utrecht and the U21 European Championship in Den Bosch. In 2012 I received my first appointment from EHF for the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Trophy Women where I was appointed as a judge and then the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy Women (May 2013 Antwerp/Belgium) where I acted as a Technical Official. I was then surprised to be appointed for the Hockey World League Round 3 in Rotterdam. Last February I went to the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Cup Women (Cambrai/France) and in July I will be present at the U21 European Championship in Waterloo/Belgium.
What is your playing background?
I started playing hockey when I was eight years old and I was always in the first or second team at my club. I then played club hockey at the highest level in the Netherlands. By that time (1992) I had also started my umpire career. And in April 2013 I umpired my last official match.
What do you enjoy about judging?
I like to be engaged with a hockey match in a different way than only as a player, umpire, coach or manager. As a judge you are a time keeper or you take care of the match statistics. This requires a totally different way of watching a hockey match. In the meantime you work with people from different countries and cultures which I find very excited and valuable for my own development as an official and as a human being.
Can you explain how the judge interacts with the other officials?
During a match the appointed judges will assist the Technical Officers with time keeping, gathering statistics and managing the scoreboard. Officials work together during the matches but also behind the scenes. We discuss what happened during the day or what we can expect in following matches. We also support the Technical Director on issues such as preparing the appointments, what colours the teams should wear, stick checks, passport control and many other things that helps the game run smoothly.
What are your feelings about being appointed as a World Cup judge?
I feel very excited! The FIH countdown really brings it home. I keep receiving more and more information about the tournament and all the events that will take place around this tournament, that makes me realise that the tournament is coming closer and closer.
At the end of the World Cup, what will tell you that it has been a success?
For me the World Cup has been a success when I can say that I gained a lot of experiences, have seen awesome contests, have experienced the emotion of sports where joy and happiness meet tears of sorrow and had a lot of fun with many people around. So when the tournament has finished people will still ask me “Why are you smiling so much? You shine!”