Using Appearance to Establish Credibility as a Sports Official
How important is appearance? You know when your significant other goes that little extra on the ‘going out’ look, and it somehow makes YOU feel good about yourself? That’s how important. When they look fantastic, you are the lucky one in the room. It feels good.
Whether we like it, or not, we all make snap judgements based on appearance. So, why not go the little extra to try to sway those judgements to positive. The tailored pants. The wrinkle-free shirt. The stylish shoes. The proper equipment. Everything from posture to eye-contact. It all says something about you. You take the time to do things right. You care enough to pay attention to detail. You look the part. This goes a long way in establishing credibility. We all know how important first impressions are, and appearance is the first of the first impressions.
I was given a playoff baseball game seven or eight years ago by my good friend Ron Sebastian in Chapel Hill, NC. My partner was a young guy from Chicago who had just moved to the area. Ron is known for giving new guys to the area a shot. He did it for me, and I’m so thankful. So my partner is new to officiating, but he played baseball and is very knowledgeable of the game. I’ve got the plate, and I’m very familiar with the home coach, so I feel good going into the game. That’s until my partner throws on a pair of Nike high-top metal baseball cleats to head out to the field. I say, “Hey man, are you wearing those?” He says, “Yeah, what’s wrong with these?” I don’t even answer, I just tell him he can’t wear them, but he has nothing else, only flip-flops. So, off we go. When we get to the field the home coach looks at us, looks down at my partners feet and then looks back at me with this “you’re kidding me” look.
Immediately, he thought my partner had no idea what he was doing. In just one moment, and with just one look, that coach summarized how he thought my partner’s performance would be. The kid did fine and the home team run-ruled the opponent, but he put himself in a position to have to prove himself from the get-go.
I’ve always been told “only try to control what you can control.” Ladies and gentlemen, appearance is in our control. So, keep those uniforms and those physiques looking sharp and gain a little extra-credit in the process.
If you have any questions, reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
About the Author: Ryan Christian is a Silbo Community Manager and 8-year Division I basketball and baseball official. He has also served twenty years with the City of Raleigh Parks & Recreation’s Athletic Department.