You lookout across the Mountains and we all see the same picture and notice different things. What you notice will invariably depend on what you know, like, dislike. If you are an expert on the Mountain environment you are will in all likely hood notice more than those who are not.
At the recent Wellington Festival I was lucky enough to be at a question and answer session with a panel that included Eddie Jones Ed Hall, Pete Short and Dr. Suzanne Brown. Ed hall brilliantly pointed out that we all have a narrow plain of expertise within which we will specifically notice different things. So that coupled with the words of Eddie Jones encouraging growth through surrounding yourself with more knowledgeable people got me thinking.
To notice more you need to see things from different perspectives, to find perspectives you need to talk to different people and try different things. I have found that the thing with noticing is that it is when you see beyond the obvious (what everyone sees) and you will also notice the stuff that is hiding in plain view.
So recently I had three views of the same rugby festival, The official, The coach, and the parent. The views here are my own and have been influenced by my previous learning’s.
View 1 – The Ref’s.
Bloody hot hard work, 6 games from 12 minutes each way to 17 minutes each way with 3 games on the bounce with high expectations of myself and of the crowd to uphold the values and set the right environment for players in the middle.
Thoroughly enjoyed being close to the action seeing the range of emotions the players go through and how players adapt to different scenarios with varying levels of success. A real privilege to be able to be in a position, to allow the game fun in the game to flourish.
I always congratulated and praised good play, sought out players who I felt had upheld the values of the game thanking them for their efforts.
I had to work hard to stay calm and be reasoned. Lots of players at u14 and 15 were appealing, even when they did not know the laws of the game. There was a direct correlation between the coach noise being instruction and this, then the parents would take the cue of the coaches, often repeating what coaches are saying, I wonder if any research has been done on this as the sides were definite images of the coaching teams, I believe they reflect the personalities of the coaches. Noisier the coach the more the players seemed to appeal.
What could I do to be better?
Communicate to yourself have predictions as to what happens next, I found things a bit predictable with lots of teams playing safe choosing not to do something out of the ordinary not take risks. Never appreciated the appealing and shouting from the crowd, to be fair I had two apologies from supporters, post games which then extended into two great conversations which show the parents get wrapped up I the emotion of the game but have not actually got the emotional intelligence to deal with it, a phrase I heard a lot was ‘I could not do your job’ or ‘I wouldn’t want to do your job’. So how does that make them experts to criticise?
Alcohol has a lot to answer for, the crowd volume raises later into the day you get emotional fatigue and beer fatigue take hold. This is when those weak minded individuals can’t keep a lid on it any longer, the touchline turns toxic the atmosphere is almost hostile and then my job as a ref becomes more important as a duty of care to the children playing. It manages to seep into the kids and manifests itself in one of two ways, aggressiveness; the game is aggressive but players are over aroused and emotionally not making good decisions, really challenging me. The other is the opposite end of the scale; players become invisible and shy out of the game, they are almost just going through the motions.
The end of games bring differing reactions dependent on results, which should not be the case! The players have all given there all they deserve much credit and don’t deserve to feel overly disappointed or elated, they play because they love the game and being with their mates. Being the man in the middle highlights this as there is no reward for winning or losing, just that immense feeling of satisfaction that you have done your best knowing the vast majority of players are happy and safe. Supporters and coaches do at times pay lip service the officials, though the majority of thanks is genuine.
There seems to be a genuine lack of empathy for officials, I loved it, there is nothing like being involved with rugby union and I have not met one official who did not do their best over the two days, coaches and players need to feel that heat that comes on even at youth level! It should not be this way but the adult expectations pressed onto the players does not help, the officials are an important part of the experience and they are just as mad keen to have fun and enjoy it, they really do want to make it a fun way to grow!