Tag Archives: green

Bigger Than The Game

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One officiating concept that I try to live by is to not be bigger than the game. That concept means that I do my best to not take over the show that the players and coaches are putting on because there isn’t a fan in the stands that paid a ticket to come watch me officiate.

When I was a less-experienced official I was definitely bigger than the game mainly because I didn’t know any better. I was like Leslie Nielson impersonating a major league umpire in the clip below.

While Mr. Nielson was doing a parody of umpires, that clip illustrates an official being bigger than a game and making a mockery of the game in the process. While the clip was a joke about baseball umpires it could have been done with any official in any sport. The potential always exists for an official to be bigger than the game, which is not a good spot to be in. It is a bad spot to be in because other officials really disapprove of a showboating, or overly officious, officials. So do fans, players, and coaches especially.

After my second year officiating for the Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association I went to an officials training clinic at UNC, Chapel Hill. I thought I was a real hot-shot official and I set out to prove that I knew what I was doing. As it turned out, I knew absolutely jack squat.

My evaluators at the training clinic ripped my officiating abilities apart. My positioning was terrible, my mechanics horrible, and my game management skills were non-existant. To top it all off one of the lead evaluators told me that it looked like I thought the fans came to watch me officiate. I was devastated and spent much of the drive back home thinking of quitting officiating.

It took a month before I stepped onto the field again. Since I decided to continue reffing I had to change my mindset. I had thought I was some reffing prodigy who knew everything there was to know about officiating. That old mindset contributed to the perception by my evaluators that I thought I was bigger than the game. While I could not change my training evaluators’ perception of me, I could certainly ensure that no one perceived me in that way ever again. So I made it my mission to become a student of officiating.

I decided to approach every game as a learning opportunity. Each and every game was a chance to get better and get my officiating to a new level. However, I also needed to work on removing my ego from my officiating. While it is a good thing for an official to have a high amount of self-confidence, I think it is important for officials to keep their egos off the field. If we don’t, we give the impression that we think we are the most important people on the field. To be fair, officials are necessary for the game, but as I said earlier no one pays for a ticket to watch us ref. Fans come to watch the players. The coaches come to coach the players, and the players come to play each other. The officials are meant to filter out bad behavior and leave a good game in their wake. If we leave the field of play and no one can remember we were there, then we did a good job.

Some officials call this blending in, or being “green.” All that means is that good officials are rarely noticed. They seem to blend into the field. Only appearing when a foul needs to be called. That is what good officials strive for. We don’t want people to remember us. We want fans, players, and coaches to remember the game and how it was played. Not how it was officiated.

It is a little strange to think that we aspire to not be noticed. That my fellow zebras and myself don’t want any recognition from anyone during or after the game. We don’t want applause for a job well done, we just want people to forget we were even there.


Why is the Penalty Flag Yellow?

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Why is the referee’s flag not red, blue, green, or orange? Why, oh why is it bright yellow? Surprisingly, there are a lot of reasons.

During your drive from work, do you ever crest a hill and see a tiny glint of yellow a few hundred yards away? If your first thought was a schoolbus you are probably correct. “As a highly visible colour from any distance, Yellow says, ‘pay attention, caution, look at me and remember’ all at the same time. The intensity of the message is determined by the intensity of Yellow used. For example, caution signs, taxi cabs, emergency service vehicles and heavy construction equipment are usually painted in a strong yellow colour because they need to be seen” (www.tunedin.com). The color yellow gets our attention so much better than other colors that it was mandated color for school buses starting in 1939.

Yellow Makes You Hungry

Yellow Makes You Hungry

Yellow is even used by fast-food chains because the color “increases appetite and respiration rate.” Also, “scientific studies have proven that babies cry more and people are more inclined to get angry in a room that is painted bright Yellow” (www.tunedin.com). Out of all the colors, Yellow is considered the most emotional shade.

“The yellow wavelength is relatively long and essentially stimulating. In this case the stimulus is emotional, therefore yellow is the strongest colour, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the colour of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a colour scheme, can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety. Our “yellow streak” can surface” (www.colour-affect.co).

Ever wonder why the Yellow Pages are yellow? Well – “it has been scientifically proven that when we record and read something back from a pastel shade of Yellow paper” we actually retain the information better (www.tunedin.com)! This is why post-it notes and legal pads are all yellow!

So penalty flags are yellow because as soon as they are thrown into the air, everyone thinks: CAUTION! However, if the flags were red everyone would get aggressive. Blue flags would make everyone calm and serene. Green flags would do nothing since the color green indicates the presence of water, which puts our hunter-gatherer brains at ease. Purple would make everyone start meditating. Pink would make everyone think of their mothers, and grey would make everyone depressed (www.colour-affect.co).

Finally, since we are talking about school buses, I highly recommend parents read The Magic School Bus or watch the show with young kids. I probably read every Magic School Bus book at least five times apiece. That series taught me about friction, space, water treatment, and what to do if I ever get trapped in the desert. All before I went to middle school.

Featured Image Credit – www.nwamotherlode.com