Management & Communication Policy over Function? For example: Umpiring in sunglasses

Discussion in 'Outdoor Umpiring Questions & General Chat' started by Christian, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. Diligent

    Diligent FHF All Time Great
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    Agreed @sanabas, @Krebsy et al., we must not be slaves to convention. But neither should we be slaves to unconvention. The measure must be the effect on the game. And when I'm coaching, or noting points of my colleague for the post-match, I'm as open to the unconventional helping as to it detracting - eyewear helps the umpire see, warm/cool clothing maintains concentration and decision-speed.

    The moment of truth comes when a player is about to do what they really shouldn't. If getting it wrong means a 10 minute yellow, then they won't do it. But if they guess FH at worst, then maybe they will, and we find out whether the umpire does indeed give just a FH or delivers the 10 minute yellow. That's a big decision, for player and umpire, but a match also sees dozens of lesser try-it/don't-try-it decisions. Because each one turns just as much on "what will the umpire do?" as "can I make it?", an umpire can protect skill simply by looking the part: pre-emptively, before any offences are committed. As the game proceeds, the umpire's performance takes over. A good umpire continues to protect skill by fair penalties, and the hockey steadily improves in intensity and spectacle. A 'pillock' (as they say) gets found out, and play goes dull as players put their skills away, or gets exciting for all the wrong reasons.

    If your reputation is enough to keep play fair, then by all means wear what others wouldn't. But if a ragged umpire shows up, and the match is unusually messy, then I'd say they were connected. Moreover I'd be pretty sure of seeing specific differences in behaviour between the smart umpire's area and the ragged umpire's area. There is causality there also.
     
    #21 Diligent, Jul 31, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
  2. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    The important bit here is that you think these things without any actual appraisal of their ability.

    Says more about the appraiser than the appraised.

    We all do it one way or another but it is no longer defensible.
     
  3. MikeyBobs

    MikeyBobs FHF Top Player

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    I have asked a similar question and tried (unsuccessfully) to research a little (via google). My guess is blazers went out at some point in the 1960/70s - they were gone by the time I started playing (mid 1980s). Then umpires were broadly dressed as today (polo shirts + dark trousers/skirts). Some of the older members of our association have mentioned blazers and white gloves, whether that a memory from playing or actually umpiring themselves I'm not sure.

    My guess as to why, possibly the game (even on grass) was starting to get faster from the 1960/70s and the wearing of blazers just slowed the umpires down.

    Anyone know?
     
  4. MikeyBobs

    MikeyBobs FHF Top Player

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    Do we allow umpires to have beards now? Unbelievable ....
     
  5. MikeyBobs

    MikeyBobs FHF Top Player

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    So on the "what to wear to umpire" question .... to me it's like this .....

    When I go to work, I wear business appropriate attire. If I'm working on a "client" site, I will find out the dress codes appropriate for that company and dress appropriately. Why do I do this, to appear professional and give my client confidence that I will take their work seriously. Of course it's all about "first impressions" - look professional and they will assume you are, and they might even listen to what you have to say! Of course there are some clients who are fine with T shirts and jeans (or even shorts!), but if I'm representing my company I may not want to appear too casual.

    Well umpiring is the same. I'm "going to work" in a different sense (even though it's my hobby). So I check with my colleague which colour he will wear. Turn up in association branded gear, so I can be clearly recoignised as "an umpire". Look the part and people will assume your the real deal (that assumption may only last to the first whistle - but it helps).

    Yes, you can umpire in shorts or jeans; you can don sunglasses; interesting head-wear and of course all sorts of varied tops. And actually, at some levels of umpiring IT DOES NOT MATTER, but there will be a level where looking the part becomes important and sets a tone and builds an impression (much the same as wearing a shirt and tie might at some clients). If you've got a "difficult" match to umpire, then everything you can do to give yourself an "advantage" helps.

    So there - that is my view ....
     
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  6. Mick Mason

    Mick Mason FHF Top Player

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    Yep. My girls see all sorts umpiring them, from the professionally dolled out to the player still in the oppositions kit sticking on a bib and doing their mandatory game, and everything inbetween. And through all this they have been taught that the umpire is there for the game, they are not going to go away, they are going to be doing whatever they are going to be doing regardless of any "helpful input" from us and so we should just play hockey to the best of our ability and respect the umpires position regardless of whether we respect the umpire. We don't comment on it, we don't let it distract us from our work, and if there is any real problem it is the coach's job to sort it out and you can take it up with him/her at the end of the game. Let the umpire get in your head, spend time pondering the umpire rather than playing hockey and you are playing against 12.
     
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  7. SPetitt

    SPetitt FHF All Time Great

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    There is a huge difference between not conforming to the letter of what 'they say' we should wera, and being ...to use @Diligent 's word .... 'ragged'. If it is so extreme that the players mutter "Who's this scruffy b*gger coming to umpire us!", then it might possibly detract from the initial 'respect for the position', at least until you've demonstrated that you know what you are doing.
    But, as for the more-frequently picked nits of sunglasses, caps and shoes, I'd like to know what real evidence there is that it makes a jot of difference to player perceptions .... although I have to say that I don't much like talking to people (anywhere) whose eyewear suggests 'US Secret Service', (or wannabe Pop Star or F1 driver) rather than someone protecting his/her eyes from the damaging effects of too much UV radiation. Pro golfer, and tennis players wear caps (as do baseball players!!), and I find the idea that they have some connotation of unprofessionalism quite ludicrous. .
    The only possible reason I can imagine for 'conformity' is that an umpiring team which looks as if they are 'on the same page' rather than 'doing their own thing' can help to engender that impression of professionalism which players at the higher levels may notice (especially when it is not there!). But that only applies, IMO, to the main outer garments.
    Good thing I never aspired to 'the higher levels' of umpiring.
    And finally, one of the very worst umpires I ever encountered (at a Summer Festival tournament) was also the most immaculately turned-out ... not a button missing or hair out of place .... he was as officious and insensitive as he was perfectly dressed. He was so bad that he was, effectively, jeered off the pitch ... with me standing there thinking "Thank Goodness he's gone!". ... and volunteering my services (in photochromics, sun hat and shorts):)
    Appearances are frequently very deceptive;)
     
  8. Nij

    Nij FHF All Time Great

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    Would you let a team play in five different colours of shirt, seven different colours of sock, and half of them in the same shorts/skirt as the opponent?

    I would not. As an umpire and a coach, uniforms exist for a reason.

    That's what umpires' clothing is: a uniform that identifies them in the group of people known to know how to umpire. When you wear it, you can assume some of the capability and respect accorded to that uniform. When you don't wear it, you are saying you know better than every other umpire who does, that you're special and you can do what you like. That's a dick move as far as helping colleagues is concerned.

    Your association says pants or skirt, wear pants or skirt, the excuse that they limit movement is a nonsense when we have international umpires doing it. Your association says no sunglasses, don't wear sunglasses, and take the side sun at your back or get close enough that you're looking down anyway. They say you must or must not wear your branded shirt, wear the shirt or don't, because it's a uniform. These conventions exist because they create order and consistency and continuity. Go and be different on your own time, not when we're trying to act like a team of officials with a professional attitude.

    That holds for the lower levels too. They deserve the best umpire I can give them: I don't let the level be an excuse to drop my standards when it comes to decisions or interactions, and that includes presenting them with an umpire they can see as one. Arrive on time, dressed appropriately, and treat them like this is the highlight of the hockey week - even if it isn't yours, it may well be theirs.
     
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  9. Gingerbread

    Gingerbread FHF All Time Great

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    When I left my old job they were interviewing candidates to replace me, one turned up for an office based job wearing a gillet style jacket and a flat cap (both of which he wore in the interview). Guess whether he got the job?

    Appearance is important, when you aren't making the effort to look interested, players pick up on that and react. Do you honestly think an umpire who turns up 5 minutes before the game in clothes inappropriate for the task (jeans don't tend to let you run up and down much, for example). You might be a great umpire but if the players see you as someone who isn't interested from the off you're on the back foot. This is why I draw the line between those sort of clothes and say sunglasses (which are a useful aid to help you see better).
     
  10. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    Verbally and using your body-language from afar.
    Up close; take them off to communicate verbally and directly with players. This is not rocket science.

    Still no one has answered the question of would you rather an umpire be unable to see properly and make crap decisions or one who can actually see but their eyes are covered by glasses?

    Secondary, what about umpires who wear glasses for vision correction?

    That is a common logical fallacy @Nij
    Just because there is a truth that one team should turn out more or less uniformly does not mean that wearing sunglasses as an umpire is a bad thing or one umpire in shorts and one in trousers will make the least bit of difference to a game.
    The reason a team should wear the same colour is that they need to a)be identified by others easily and b) identify themselves easily.
    Thus umpires wearing the same colour is clearly a sensible and advisable act.

    Yes wearing the same coloured top is useful. That aids identification.
    Probably the same coloured bottoms.
    The same length of bottoms? No. Doesn't make a difference.
    The same colour of shoes? No. Doesn't make a difference.
    Eye-wear which allows them to see clearly? No. Doesn't make a difference.

    The reason players wear shorts, it is very hard to play hockey in trousers.
    The reason umpires wear trousers: the book and older people tell them they must.
    The reason umpires don't wear shorts: they are told that they will be bad umpires and their decision making will be hindered. (Utter rot. Total and utter nonsense.)

    The reason players all wear different colours of shoe: different shoes suit different people.
    The reason umpires must all wear black shoes: That's the way it's always been and to change it would be to obviously be wrong.

    So lets look at examples where the "That's the way it's always been and to change it would be to obviously be wrong." argument is used in other walks of life:

    1. Men shouldn't work in early years education, only weird ones do
    2. Women shouldn't work in engineering, it's not really ladylike.
    3. Groups of people with *insert chosen skin type here* are threatening and should be avoided
    4. Female receptionists should all wear high-heeled shoes
    5. Men should not wear skirts

    do you see, it's all complete idiocy? We have made rules, for no apparent reason other than we are unable to deal with anyone fairly who does not conform to that rule. I am surprised and a little sad that this forum is such a proponent of that. I had the impression that generally there was a live and let live attitude here.

    The only defence I have seen for umpires not wearing sunglasses or shorts or brightly coloured shoes is that the respondents themselves are unable to look at said umpire with the same respect.

    What this signals is that the problem is with idiots who think that the details of what you are wearing make any difference to how you are going to act. That's really Victorian.
    I use the word idiots advisedly and I understand that it is a little rude. That has not stopped me from using it.

    If you are unable not to judge someone by their rather normal clothing choices, don't expect them to change.
    You should change.
     
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  11. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    And you think it's right to encourage that sort of discrimination?

    Wow.
     
  12. MikeyBobs

    MikeyBobs FHF Top Player

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    I don't disagree with you and in a "perfect world" people should be judged on their personal abilities and not their dress sense, the colour of their hair, their regional accent or a hundred other factors. That should apply in the business world, politics, sport, hockey umpiring and any other field of human activity. I agree!!

    My point is this is far from a perfect world and as things stand, a lot of people will make their mind up about an individual before they open their mouth or blow a whistle. Sadly that is "human nature". We either accept that and "play the game" - which is what I was implying last night. Or you say "this is rubbish" and take on the "rebel" attitude. But in the world as it stands (imperfect as it is), choosing the "rebel" approach is a harder ask and you set yourself a harder bar to reach.

    I'm just trying to deal with the realities of life in the 21st century - not what is right or wrong. Actually, the world is a lot better now than it was when I entered the job market (c 1983) - but first impressions still count for so much, even so .....
     
  13. MikeyBobs

    MikeyBobs FHF Top Player

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    Mr Shakespeare wrote:

    "All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts....."

    And like actors we need to wear the right costume .... otherwise we don't get asked back next week!! :)
     
  14. Mac

    Mac FHF Legend

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    Did you work in farming? Context is everything.
     
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  15. Trig

    Trig FHF Legend

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    Put it like this. How many national or international games have you seen where umpires have had shades on?
     
  16. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    We don't make an imperfect world better by re-enforcing the rules which damage it.
    We improve matters by those who can see that these rules are bull**** standing together and creating a clamour for people to act differently.
    This is not about large societal issues, this is about understanding that an umpire who can see is better than one who cannot, and given that we don't live in a fundamentalist society, showing a bit of leg is not going to lead to the breakdown of order and moral character.

    The "realities of life" argument is one which in many instances is well used and I understand your point. Furthermore if people understand the reality they are dealing with, then they can change it much more effectively. An umpire using sunglasses is such a trivial act as to not really be a justifiable use of that argument. Furthermore, given that this is a binary argument, there isn't much room for manoeuvre.
     
  17. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    That argument doesn't work.
    How many coaches and high-level team managers do you see at the top level of most western sports with dark skin?
    How many women do you see refereeing or umpiring international men's sport matches?

    All that argument says is that nothing can change if it is not already the status quo.

    And specifically on this topic, if the decision made at the top level was silly, then it washes down and is accepted, in this case as dogma.
     
  18. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    Yes, but the requirements for clothing on a stage are much more necessarily stringent than those on a hockey park.
    In the globe theatre, the appearance of the actors are part of the performance and part of what the audience is paying to see.
    On a hockey park, the people are paying to see the hockey players, the umpires are necessary accoutrements, but their appearance is not part of what people are there for, therefore the standards need not be quite so high.
    I am not wearing breeches when umpiring. Unless on tour.
     
  19. Mac

    Mac FHF Legend

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    How many national or (more particularly) international games are a) played in a low sun late in the day; and/or (more pertinent in international games) b) don't have the benefit of some form of seating around the pitch to act as an artificial barrier to the low light?

    Apples and oranges. Apples and oranges.

    As an aside I've never seen an international game with two umpires wearing different shirts, or a peaked cap, or a jacket but those things appear acceptable otherwise at the level a lot of the forum umpires at. Why the abhorrence of sunglasses if the conditions call for it? And to further the point, didn't @Bondy do an Australasian tournament (IIRC) in officially sanctioned shorts because the conditions demanded it?
     
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  20. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    You have raised another good point, have you ever tried being outdoors in the afternoon sun in, say, Western Australia or for example Qatar without sunglasses on? It's basically dangerous.
    Even in less sun-drenched countries such as the UK, the brightness of the conditions can be hazardous to visual health if you are unprotected.
     
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