Monday, April 04, 2005

How funny can it get?

I hear two things from players and coaches that make me laugh (although I try to not laugh in their face).

The first is "You hate us" - here's the funny part - I dont even know who you are! I cant count the number of times a player or coach has greeted me by name - my last name is on the back of my sweater, and I often will greet the coaches before a game with my first name to break the ice. But if I work 5 games in a 3 day weekend span I dont have room to remember all the faces and names of the coaches. Once even I saw a coach twice in the same weekend at a tournament, and I didnt remember him until he said "I hope your in a better mood" - duhh, if he hadnt said anything I would have smiled and skated on. As it was I ended up pausing for a moment and trying to find a diplomatic way of saying "get over it".

The second funny thing people say to me is "call it both ways" - usually when they are behind in the score - this one I can understand - I ocassionaly make the mistake of trying to play - and its a sign of fustration when you feel that the game is tilted against you. The problem is that officials rarely intentionally tilt a game in any direction, but they do have a standard you might not understand. The simple fact is that the best officials are so good because they know precicely what that standard is, and the "bad" officials dont. Telling an official to "call it both ways" never works because he is already doing that.

My advice - consider the official's goals, a USA Hockey official's "prime directive" is to enforce the rules, not to make you happy. One of the best ways to win friends is to approach the official with respect - "Sir" and "Please" are more effective than a finger pointed at the chest or a "you have to call that because I think its a penalty".

The most effective coach I can recall is a quiet fellow who asked me "What can I tell my players to do to stay inside the lines" - and then he made a point to remind his players at each opportunity "keep those hands down boys" - when he next asked for a consultation I gave him the time as a reciprocal courtesy.


Post a Comment

<< Home