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

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

  1. MikesDad

    MikesDad FHF Top Player

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    When I'm playing and head down and concentrating (Which at my age is essential), I find an Umpire in long trousers is much easier to distinguish in my peripheral vision from other players. An Umpire in shorts and astros - maybe not so easy to tell apart.
     
  2. Bondy

    Bondy FHF Legend

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    As an umpire, one the most important assets you have, is respect/acceptance from the players. And rightly or wrongly, that's a fickle thing. People remember the points of difference... sometimes that's a good thing, but as an umpire, often it doesn't help you.

    Make a bad call wearing sunglasses, and someone will think you've not seen it properly.
    Make a bad call wearing the wrong uniform, and someone will think that you don't care about the game enough to dress properly.
    The same if you're wearing red shoes, or a crazy haircut, or are overweight. Conciously or unconciously, people judge you, and as an umpire that doesn't help.
    Make a bad call while looking the part and you might be lucky and have most of the players just accept that mistakes happen.

    Anyone remember Billy Bowden, the cricket umpire? When he was umpiring well, the extragavant signals were all a part of his charm. But when his decision-making started getting worse, all of a sudden the signalling was a point of arrogance - "why do you signal like that when you don't even get the calls right?" - even though (IMO) other umpires were making worse decisions at the same time, he was the obvious one.

    In the right circumstances, wear whatever you like. At home in NZ, I've umpired a reasonably high-level women's game wearing shorts, the wrong shirt, a game involving my own Club, having been dragged out of the bar (because the appointed ump didn't turn up). This was OK for me because of the circumstances and because of the respect I'd built up over the years. Now in Germany, I'd not even think about wearing shorts or the wrong shirt, or umpiring my local club, and absolutely not after being seen drinking - because I don't have the same built-up respect that allows me to do those things and still have player acceptance.
     
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  3. Bondy

    Bondy FHF Legend

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    This was World League Round 1 in Fiji - and yes, the shorts were official team uniform. Which IMO is a very different thing to wearing shorts when everyone else wears trousers.
     
  4. Mac

    Mac FHF Legend

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    I agree with the point about it being an official team uniform; the issue for me - and I hazard @Krebsy - is why can't e.g. shorts be an accepted part of the uniform in any event? Why must (male) umpires be in trousers (don't the ladies wear skirt/skorts)? There is no cogent rationale save "It's always been this way", and clearly it hasn't even at the top of the game.

    I appreciate I have deviated from sunglasses here, but if umpires are attired the virtually same (and I think everyone agrees that is preferable; note the rules say "the two umpires must wear similar colours to one another, but different from those of both teams" [2017 Rules, Umpiring 3.2c]) and do their job, does the length of their trousers matter? I suggest not, because I trust they'll be in socks which don't clash with the teams.

    Built up/perceived respect is important but that can evaporate if someone is "all gear and no idea". (viz. @SPetitt above). Maybe you do start a little behind the curve if you have shorts or sunglasses on, but is that so bad if the conditions dictate it as necessary (cf. 2017 Rules 3.2d: "clothing appropriate to the conditions must be worn")?

    As to that last point,@Bondy, did you notice a change in attitude toward the umpiring team/you at the World League in Fiji due to the shorts? I'm genuinely curious, although I accept it proves nothing either way in the context of this discussion.
     
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  5. Gingerbread

    Gingerbread FHF All Time Great

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    I thought "office based job" made it clear but no, I don't work in farming, I work in an office
     
  6. Gingerbread

    Gingerbread FHF All Time Great

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    I think it's right you should dress correctly for your job (or the job you want) yes. Working in an office environment, where men are expected to wear shirts, trousers etc, turning up for an interview in a suit and taking off your hat shows professionalism. Even if working for a farm, for an initial interview, wearing appropriate clothing and not turning up in t-shirt and shorts is the way these thing are done.
     
  7. Gingerbread

    Gingerbread FHF All Time Great

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    What on earth has race or sex got to do with a sensible dress code? There is a degree of logic that a woman who couldn't run up and keep up with men shouldn't umpire a men's game but Frances Block is on the Premier Panel of NPUA and Caroline Frye and Hanna Harrison are on the A Panel all for Men's
     
  8. Mac

    Mac FHF Legend

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    Missed that bit - too busy concentrating on my office-based job! :(
     
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  9. sanabas

    sanabas FHF All Time Great

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    Yes, so they can easily be identified. Can look at a player and know which team they are on. Without a uniform, or at least a uniform shirt colour, that's quite tough. It's not so hard to identify the goalkeeper or umpire though, regardless of their shirt colour.

    No. Having a whistle shows that far better than having black shoes on.

    Jeans limit movement. Long black trousers don't limit it so much. But who has said they don't want to wear black pants because they restrict movement? I won't umpire, nor do any other form of exercise in long pants, because I sweat. It is uncomfortable for me to be running around in trousers. I would wear a skirt, sure. But I'd be accused of presenting the wrong image/not taking it seriously just as much as I would be turning up in shorts or red shoes.

    If both umpires take the side with the sun at their back, it gets tricky to make all the decisions correctly.

    And there are two separate issues here. If my association says no sunglasses, if my association says I must wear long black pants, then it's pretty simple. I'll either umpire in long black pants & no sunglasses, or I won't umpire. But even if I do decide to umpire and wear what the association specifies, that doesn't make it a good rule, and it doesn't mean I should follow those specifications even when I'm doing umpiring that doesn't fall under those rules. Don't confuse adhering to the association's umpiring rules with umpiring well. Many people do both. Some umpires can't manage either. Some only do one of the two things. They're independent of each other.

    If you can explain how red shoes or green hair or shorts makes me a worse umpire, then you have a point. Otherwise, they do get the best umpire I can give them. I arrive on time, I'm obviously the umpire, I treat them like umpiring their game is what I want to be doing right now, and I DO show up dressed appropriately. I don't show up dressed according to somebody else's arbitrary set of clothing rules.

    And on a practical note, there's a good argument not to wear black pants in any game wear a team wears black socks. They look the same from a distance, particularly if it's mostly legs appearing in peripheral vision because a player is looking down towards the ground. Goalie mistaking the umpire for a player because of their attire, that does mean the umpire could do better. Look at @MikeyBobs avatar and crop it at knee height. Can you tell who is the umpire and who are the players at a glance?
     
  10. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    It has nothing whatsoever to do with it. I am merely giving other examples of where that sort of argument prevails and, by association attempting to show that it is invalid and pointless and in some cases damaging (albeit this is not necessarily one of those cases).

    Furthermore I am attempting to highlight that "because that's how it has always been" is utterly vacant as a reason for making a bad decision today.
     
  11. SPetitt

    SPetitt FHF All Time Great

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    I sometimes feel rather sympathetic with football referees who are required to wear as little as ... and sometimes less than (eg gloves, tights) ... the players, regardless of the sometimes truly dreadful weather in N Hemisphere Winters.
    But they have to run a lot, and are often in the middle of the pitch and very close to many players, so I can see the logic.
    When I umpired in S Africa and NZ North Island I customarily wore a cap and photochromic-lensed spectacles, but attempted to have a shirt which matched my colleague's (not always possible ) and was clearly different from both teams'.
    In UK, (at a more 'mature' age ;)) I wore the same, but if it was near-freezing or pouring with rain, I wore a waterproof, 'breathable' coat, of a light weight, and a pale neutral colour.
    Occasionally I was needed to go directly from one game to another (not always in the same location), where a complete change was just not possible.
    I have absolutely no evidence whatsoever ... no feedback from players, or watchers, or even ump coaches ... that my appearance had any detrimental effect whatsoever on my umpiring effectiveness, over the many decades I umpired. (I have, like most long-term umpires, been accused of most other 'faults' .... bias, coaching, etc, and sheer incompetence, of course :p )
    I think the only person who might raise his/her eyebrows at non-standard clothing/accessories could be the other umpire, whose prejudices might result in making dodgy initial judgment.. But once the game gets going, all that is forgotten.
    And I truly believe that 99.99+% of players would never think "(S)he made that cr@p decision because of wearing sunglasses/hat/yellow shoes..etc" ... they will think "That's a bad decision" and eventually "This is an incompetent umpire" (or words to that effect).
    Players judge us by what we do, rather than how we look ... although, sadly there were(are?) a few teams who thought(think?) that a woman was/is not capable of umpiring big, rough men :mad:
    A couple of obvious exceptions (especially for one's colleague) were an umpire in a red coat with one team in red &black, and another in a dark green coat against a background of a conifer hedge :rolleyes:
     
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  12. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    Quick google search alert:

    professional
    adjective
    1. 1.
      relating to or belonging to a profession.
      "young professional people"
      synonyms: white-collar, executive, non-manual
      "people in professional occupations"
    2. 2.
      engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as an amateur.
      "a professional boxer"
      synonyms: paid, salaried, non-amateur, full-time
      "a professional tennis player"
    noun
    1. 1.
      a person engaged or qualified in a profession.
      "professionals such as lawyers and surveyors"
      synonyms: white-collar worker, professional worker, office worker
      "affluent young professionals"

    I don't see how any of that is a virtue which should override pragmatism and simply equipping yourself to be able to carry out the task in hand when umpiring.
    We get this word thrown at us in various walks of life "show a professional attitude"

    It means nothing apart from it allows people to moan at you for not obeying what they have arbitrarily set as a boundary and cannot back it up with any sensible argument other than "convention", "history", "order", "hive-mind-must-be-obeyed".

    I interview people for office jobs frequently. If they turn up in PJs I question their fashion judgement, but if they turn out to be great at their chosen career then I have to assess them based on that.
    I quite like wearing shirts, but I often wear t-shirts when I want to.
    When I am going to meet clients, I know that in my walk of life, there are a lot of old-fashioned men in the job who think shit like this is important. If I want their money then I need to not give them a reason to be unhappy. But they are utterly utterly wrong in this. But I want their money.
    Younger clients don't care so much. They are much more open minded and they tend to listen to what I have to say.

    Most old folk in the UK were brought up racist. Doesn't mean I should be racist when I go to see my grandparents. Nor should I encourage them because that's how it has always been.

    These self perpetuating non-questioning rules are called dogma. They are not based on anything other than made up nonsense.
     
  13. sanabas

    sanabas FHF All Time Great

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    I can make the same argument in reverse. An umpire who is obviously newer, been dragged into it, doesn't look the part but is making an effort to keep up with play and umpire properly, they'll get a pass when they make a mistake, as it's an honest one and they're doing their best. An umpire who has made the effort to look the part but less effort to learn how to umpire, they don't get a pass, they get flagged as a pretender who'll keep making mistakes.

    Yes, respect & acceptance from players can be a fickle thing. But for me what it boils down to is that I am willing to assume the players will judge me for how I umpire, rather than how I look. I think that shows more respect than assuming they can't cope with an umpire who looks slightly different. I think it can show confidence in yourself, too.

    The only argument for long pants/black shoes/no sunnies/no hat seems to be variations on 'that's what umpires wear' or 'that's what the players expect', and by not looking like they expect, not wearing what umpires wear, you'll mark yourself in the eyes of players as 'not an umpire'. It basically says that we must dress a particular way because we need to pander to the assumed prejudices of those watching. And I simply don't agree with that.

    Sure, at international level, at big tournaments, the umpires are representing more than themselves, they're carrying sponsor logos, etc. And there, I think an umpiring uniform is a good thing. But I think specifying black shoes as part of that uniform is stupid. Playing teams don't mandate a shoe colour. I think specifying long trousers is also stupid. Every code of footy has umpires who wear a uniform. For both versions of rugby, soccer & aussie rules, that uniform is shorts. Because they run. It might take a couple of years from making a change for 'that's what umpires wear' to change in people's heads, but we should remove shoe colour from the umpire's uniform, and we should either mandate shorts/skirt, or give umpires the option of not wearing long trousers.

    I think the same with job interviews. Someone confident enough to turn up not in a suit, and impress me with themselves, instead of trying to impress with their clothes, that might end up being the tiebreaker in their favour. Of course, that might be harder to try and do, because a job interview is somewhere that first impressions tend to be a lot more important than they are when spending 70 minutes or more with people.
     
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  14. Gingerbread

    Gingerbread FHF All Time Great

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    Same hence nipping in forum on a quick break!
     
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  15. Gingerbread

    Gingerbread FHF All Time Great

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    To be honest the comment comes across as facetious not as a valid comparison, the lack of non-white coaches is hardly comparable with having umpires dress in a manner which presents the right impression to players
     
  16. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    I can relate directly to that in my club.

    Occasionally my team's fixtures do not get appointed umpires due to how the West's Umpires or Avon and Somerset Umpires are resourced and run, which is unfortunate and on a Friday I can find myself scratching around looking for umpires.
    2 come to mind.

    One has all the kit, tall, fit, eloquent, and an absolute nightmare of an umpire. Knows all the rules he wants to know, applies them tyranically and cannot see simple things like a GK clearing the ball off the 23m line 6-7m away from him and setting up a goal. But he will yellow card you if you hurt yourself and swear. Furthermore if the ball hits the wire strung across the pitch, he will award a FH against the person who raised the ball or a PC if necessary. Despite being shown the rules which tell him not to.
    In short, a bloody tryrant and utterly hopeless at a high level.

    Umpire 2.
    He has gout, he cannot wear shoes or trousers when running because the pain is too much.
    He is a jocular rotund fellow who appears to be a total lunatic.
    Hand him a whistle, and always gets in position, always makes a call and tends to get it right. When players react to his decisions, his personality handles it well and he seldom is in a situation where dissent needs to be dealt with firmly.

    Now one would pass muster in this argument and one would be shunned.

    It is evidence to support that what you wear makes a) no difference to how you umpire and b) no difference to how players react.
     
  17. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    No it is not facetious.
    It is a clear example of the sorts of scenarios where that utterly ridiculous justification is wheeled out by people who cannot come up with a proper evidence based argument.
    If you don't like the fact that it is used in such obviously unacceptable scenarios as perpetuating racist stereotypes as well as the scenario in this discussion, perhaps that shows how ridiculous and indefensible this scenario is.
     
  18. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    Today my office based job is a living-room based job.
    There are many positives to that.
     
  19. SPetitt

    SPetitt FHF All Time Great

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    The most cogent argument for conforming is that a) 'you will not be asked back next week' and b) you will not get promoted to higher levels.
    Provided the umpire is otherwise competent, it isn't what is best for the players but it is, sadly, just the way it is, in the eyes of many who influence such decisions.:(

    (And I am retired, and on my own, so I can get online when I want to ....especially now when it is 35C outside :rolleyes:)
     
  20. Krebsy

    Krebsy FHF All Time Great

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    that may be correct.
    But that is more evidence that the convention must change. Not that we should conform.
     

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