On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS August 25, 2014 # 503 Up next…On Making Decisions – Part 3
After further review…The final episode of the TunneySide triad on making decisions deals with professionalism and integrity. The first segment, you will recall, dealt with creating a positive effect in cases of disciplinary action. The second described decisions that were mainly deliberate vs. reflexive – reflexive being the kind game officials would make. The difference between a decision that involves sitting around a table and debating the pros and cons of an issue is vastly different than those decisions made “while the engine is running”.
In the heat of an athletic contest there is neither time nor appropriateness for “discussion”. Game officials want to be – and must be – accurate and precise in every decision. They are being judged and critiqued by fans, coaches and players on every action or inaction. Further, in most professional sports, there is a fail-safe system called replay. The value of replay notwithstanding, an action-type game is designed to operate by the decisions of players, coaches and officials. None of whom is infallible. Mistakes will occur.
In football, for example, every play is designed to be a success. Coaches choose plays that will work and players practice those plays to ensure they will succeed. If each play worked as it were designed and coaches and players executed as intended, game officials would officiate “the perfect game”. But, that ain’t gonna happen! That’s why it’s called a game!
The professionalism of officials is vital to maintain a high level of enjoyment. The officials must be at their best at all times even when the game is not. During a game coaches and players, although professional in their approach, may lose their cool in the heat of the contest. But the officials must not.
Professionalism starts with the approach of officials preparing themselves mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Yes, spiritually, but more in the metaphysical sense than religious. Officials must maintain an attitude of positivity with an enthusiastic state of mind at all times. If, or when, abuse arises from fans, coaches or players, officials must rise above it and never respond in-kind. It is their task to keep the game under control no matter what the circumstance.
Moreover, it is the officials’ job to possess a level of impartiality and honesty. The utmost in integrity is the guiding force in any game.
Will you maintain a high level of professionalism and integrity in whatever you do?
Jim’s book “101 Best of Tunney Side of Sports” is available here.