Welcome to #MentoringMonday, where hockey umpires get the support and resources they need to develop their umpiring careers. We look forward to hearing all of your thoughts!
In Against the Rules, Michael Lewis spends an entire podcast series talking about referees, in the most general sense: people who are appointed to adjudicate fairness in all kinds of aspects of life.
The series kicks off with “Ref, You Suck!”, which explores refereeing in the NBA. Lewis details the $50million, 110-screen replay centre in New Jersey, studies on how they managed to correct racial bias in their decision-making, how they hired an actual military general to run the officiating program, and how it’s the most privileged stars who demonstrate the worst behaviour against officials. The NBA has done everything you can imagine to improve officiating standards, and yet mistrust, abuse and outright fury directed at referees continues to grow.
Lewis illustrates a fundamental tension between the sense of fairness that we charge to the responsibility of officials to uphold and our chafing against that delegation of power. As Lewis’ 11-year old son explains, getting called for fouls has the visceral feeling of being continuously poked in the shoulder—highly personal and incredibly infuriating.
Further, studies show an overwhelming correlation between how much of a sense of privilege a person has in their sphere and how much they think the rules don’t apply to them. In sports, that sense of privilege extends to the fans of privileged or star players, such that fans empathize and augment that sense of outrage when they’re hauled up for their transgressions.
This episode is just the start, and even though the other episodes aren’t even on the topic of sports, each one helps put together an overall theme of how we look at arbiters in our society. I’m interested in your thoughts:
- Why are hockey umpires in general respected at the level they are in light of declining respect for arbiters in general society?
- Do you think that’s changing, and why?
- How can we ensure we don’t (depending on your view) begin to or continue to decline in the perception of the people we serve and the behaviours they direct our way?
If you enjoyed this, we’re offering an intensive mentoring experience in the fhu3t Yellow membership. 🔵🟢🟡🔴🏑