Thursday, January 27, 2011

And the reason that the whole thing started

Why is football knowledge measured by the offside rule?

The row over remarks made by Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray about female assistant referee Sian Massey centres on the offside rules. But why is the offside law such a benchmark of football knowledge? ...

See the full story here, courtesy of the BBC.

Kicking Back Comments:
One thing that my father taught me when I would referee as a youth is a healthy disrespect for authority. While like most kids I would imagine, I was taught by my parents to always be polite, say "please", and "thank you", and generally be nice. One other lesson that was taught was to "respect your elders", which was essentially everyone else at my tender age as I started refereeing.

My dad carved out an exception for me though. He allowed me to use appropriate language and acts to make and defend my decisions inside the field. Essentially I was allowed to (appropriately) stand my ground with my decisions regardless of how the adults involved felt about it.

This was very liberating to me personally as it allowed me to do what I thought was right and appropriately challenge some of the assertions. This had a positive effect of letting some of these youth coaches know I was not a doormat and they would get comments back to out of bounds criticisms. This may actually have been the genesis of the BAYS "Zero Tolerance" policy, which was derived shortly thereafter with my dad leading the charge, while serving as BAYS referee commissioner, and thankfully with the full board in support.  

Granted in my youth I blew it a few times and constructive comments at times degraded slightly (not overly). Also, I was not always correct in my interpretation about what I was calling. Fortunately I was not a prisoner to "confirmation bias" and even then had a few folks who would gently guide me in being less aggressive with my comments and a better listener and referee.

Later in my career what I found was that there are many, many people who really don't understand the LOTG, as the "experts" here clearly demonstrated. I say that fully realizing that your typical youth parent does not, as would your typical adult player. Where I became surprised was my time in MLS and the brief touch with the international game that a percentage of those players and coaches do not understand aspects of the LOTG either. I was floored and continued my policy of challenging the incorrect ... in a more appropriate way these days.

Now beware, there are folks that know an awful lot about the game that inhabit youth fields, and certainly at the professional and international level. Don't assume that you are better because you are wearing the badge. Take an objective look at your performance later, but don't be bullied into calling something a particular way from pressure from someone who may think they know more, or better. Sian knew better. I suspect the other blokes do now as well.

If you want to see what can happen when you assume, take a look at the clip below from the ageless Benny Hill ... it speaks for itself.

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