Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beware the question

As is now typical for me, I was reading Paul Levy's blog, Running a hospital, and ran across this posting of a funny exchange at the coin toss between the referee and other players. It reminded me of a trap I have fallen into many times as a referee, and one I hope to avoid as a lawyer.

It deals with asking open ended questions before a match, and it happens by the referee asking something like, "Are there any questions?"

Don't get me wrong, it is a perfectly legitimate question to ask, just be ready for a reply from the person you pose the question to.

For example, in a scrimmage match with the Revolution I was asked to referee (pictured above), I asked that very question of (then) captain John Harkes. His reply. "What is the fastest land mammal?"

John's expression was deadpan as both AR's chuckled. I (very fortunately) had the right answer. It's the cheetah for all interested, not Joel Silverman on his way to a match, as some have opined. It did wake me up to the fact that these questions can be traps for the unsuspecting.

Now here John, as with the article above, was just having some fun and I took it in that vein. Not every result will be the same however, and if you ask, beware the question.

For me, I have since changed that routine at the professional levels and not asked a question at all and answer as few as possible at other levels. My shining exception is of youth players who are genuinely wanting to learn. For them I will answer anything related to the game.

After all, if you answer one way, you have to follow through the entire match. To do otherwise is to invite disaster.

No comments:

Post a Comment