Monday, March 14, 2011

A tip of my cap to the classics

Image courtesy of Mere Cie
For those who read the comments here at Kicking Back, you are often times treated to some cunning insight from folks, and at times very personal exchanges.

I can assure you the folks who put up comments and those in return from me are straight from the heart.

In a recent exchange with refereeing guru, Wally Russell, I learned that he is one of the very few US importers of Balilla, B&D, and Acme whistles.

He recently shared one of the great truths about referees and their art:
If we budgeted more time to reading and correcting body language and listening to and perfecting nuanced whistles tones for effect and match control, our performance as referees would evolve limitlessly....
Just think about that for a second and ask yourself, is how you are refereeing causing ripples in the water? This is a topic we have, and will continue to tackle in the future.

Guru Russell spent many late night hours over chicken fingers and Risk, slowly smoothing out my rocky shores, talking about these and many other issues. For that help and perspective I am forever grateful.

It has been said that a "Balilla is the Maserati of whistles." I would agree as that is what I have used throughout my career, and continue to use to this day. I find there is nothing like it.

As spring approaches and your are in need of a new whistle and appropriate lanyard or chain, stop by Mere Cie. You will not be disappointed with the tremendous selection of classic whistles.


  1. Peter,
    I am grateful for the great post!
    To clarify again, presently, I
    am the sole importer of BALILLA whistles for North America, period.
    The "Whistle Line" in Yakima, WA
    gets their BALILLAS from me, while
    I get B & D and ACME whistles from them...
    What I am up against is a 20 year
    TSUNAMI of cheap pealess whistles that has overwhelmed the market.
    None of the big retailers such as
    SPORT ARTIKEL in Germany, the largest Soccer equipment retailer
    in all of Europe and manufacturer of B & D (Made in China) and official provider for all UEFA sanctioned events, no longer sells BALILLAs.
    ACME, which invented the pea whistle in the late 1800s, copied
    BALILLA with the ACME Thunderer 63.
    However it is Nickel Plated.
    All BALILLA metal whistles are
    Chromed over Brass with NO Nickel
    Plating (very important!).
    Furthermore, with the Dollar at
    0.72 Euros (1 Euro = $1.40), the
    odds are stacked against us to
    make some headway for pea whistles
    to take their rightful place in
    the world of Referee Whistles...,
    once again.
    Good thing I am not presently an
    assesor, as I would invariably
    fail the referee using a pealess
    Please refresh my memory; did we
    have that rule in place at the
    Sports Centre in Hingham 30 years
    ago? I do think so....
    Get in touch with me at: that I may
    send you a couple of samples.
    And as always, don't forget to
    soak your pea whistles in water
    before use...
    Remember the old saying that every
    referee looks the part until they
    blow the whistle for the first
    time in a game.... enough said!
    Thank you so much for taking the
    time to support me in this
    Wally Russell
    PS. What's with the Guru thing?
    I'm just a Soccer Referee who
    overdosed after more than 25,000 indoor matches and nearly 10,000 outdoor... PLAY ON!

  2. Wally,

    Thanks for the clarification ... it looks like all roads lead to you in this regard.

    You're right, guru may be understated after 35,000 games ...

    Warmest personal regards,