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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 12:55pm
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This may seem immaterial to most of us, but, does an overweight ref instantly harm his/her credibility? We talk about appearances (all black shoes, pants with no loops, etc.) and how much that matters. Does the stretching of the stripes put a doubt in player's/coach's/fan's minds that we might not be up to the task? We use the analogy of fat/overweight = lazy/not on top of game in many other ways. Does it apply to us? Much is said of Ed Hoculie (sp?) and what a great NFL ref he is. Does he gain some extra cred because he looks the role (see this months piece in SI about him...)?

[Edited by lmeadski on Jan 16th, 2006 at 01:00 PM]
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 01:06pm
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From my point of view, weight doesn't matter as long as someone can get up and down the court and does a good job. I've seem some overweight (and not overweight) officials who struggle to get up and down the court (or simply walk) because of weight issues, knee issues, bad feet, etc. That concerns me. But simply "stretching the stripes" doesn't matter to me.
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 01:19pm
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Of course it does. Everything about us we are going to be judged one way or the other, positively or negatively. The issue with weight is you either look like you can get up and down the court or you do not look like you cannot get up and down the court. Now if you are overweight you will have to overcome more than a skinny guy will. I have had coaches that focused on that the appearance of my partners because of their weight. That just comes with the territory.

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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 01:26pm
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The people that taught me to officiate always said that appearance is 80% of officiating. If you look like you know what you're doing and get into good position, you aren't going to have problems. Your body type may have an effect on how the coaches and fans percieve you (as will age, young or old, wearing glasses, tatoos, ect.). Personally I really feel that staying in pretty good shape helps my presence on the floor. I do know as you climb the ladder into college, your appearance becomes more important. I'm about 6 feet, average when I'm around high school officials, but when I go to college camps, I'm one of the short guys.
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 01:30pm
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I think that if there are two refs of equal hustle, equal judgment, equal presence, equal rules knowledge, the overweight one will have to work harder for credibility. And the more overweight, the harder it becomes.

I'm a little portly in the belly (understated to prevent self-injury) but not seriously so. But when I work with someone who's got a healthier look, I look slow and less capable by comparison. When I work with someone who's seriously overweight, I appear to be the fitter one. I also think a fitter look helps a ref move up faster.

The other physical feature that I think hurts a ref is a red, flushed face. Appearing flustered reflects on how the ref's thinking and judging appears.

Being both flustered and a little overweight is a serious detriment, regardless of ability. It shouldn't be that way, but it is.
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 01:49pm
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Yes,

I worked 17 years of D1 basketball and was released, rightfully so, by two of three conferences I worked because I had become too heavy.

If I can't tend to my own weight then maybe I failed to understand my priorites in what I was doing.

Just an opinion but I believe that what people see influences them greatly.
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 02:43pm
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Case and point. There is no ref in the NBA that even remotely looks overweight. Personally I would like to be taller, but that is actually one aspect I can't control(6 ft. by the way).
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 02:59pm
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refTN...I agree, I'm not overweight, just 4 inches too short.
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 03:18pm
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Not just weight but overall conditioning is a factor.

We have 1 gentleman in our association that is a veteran of D-1 college and knows how to work a game like nobody else. As the years have caught up with him - knee surgery, arthritis, heart surgery - needless to say he's slowed way down.

Aa an experiened official he's efficient and can still call and manage a good game.

I worry about overweight, out-of-shape rookies.

Yes, physical ability to work a game becomes a greater factor early in one's development.

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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 03:57pm
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Coaches are already making judgments us about us when they see us initially. If you are overweight, they have already included that in their judgment of us. Some refs can overcome that first impression with their performance.

Even then, if the overweight ref misses a call (in the mind of the coach), it may be because "they were out of position due to their weight."

Z
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 04:07pm
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We've talked about it in our association. It can hurt you in terms of moving up levels. When I see overweight officials, I have a tough time judging them as equally credible. Maybe it's human nature to think that way, but it happens.
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 04:10pm
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Short answer: Yes

Long answer, i agree with what's been said. People make judgements before we ever take the floor. And whereas a fit looking official will usually get the benefit of the doubt, an unfit looking official will have to work his or her way out of a credibility hole. That goes not only for coaches but for players, fans and even sometimes partners.
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 04:42pm
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Question: What if you see that an official has a limp, or a knee brace, or glasses. Would you judge that person the same as one who is overweight?
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 05:33pm
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I won't on the glasses part since I wear them. I just don't like the thought of messing with my eyes by using contacts or laser surgery, although I am guessing 90% of guys over 30 have one or the other or both. If that hurts my rating, tough s***. I could beat 90% of the officials handily in a race from end line to end line.
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Old Mon Jan 16, 2006, 05:40pm
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Limp, yes. Knee brace should be hidden. Glasses no problem.

If I see a guy limping down the court I have to question his ability to get himself in the right position to make the call. If I am thinking that, you know the crowd is.

I'm not sure "weight" is necessarily the only issue. I think the issue is whether you look like you may have ever played basketball in your life. The players, and I think the fans, give more respect to someone who looks like they know the game. When someone gets to old, unless they are teriffic shape, there is a risk of loss of credibility. Weight, obviously, is an issue. I have heard players yap at partners of mine "have you even played the game?". At 6'5" and in reasonable shape, I think I get the benefit of the doubt. I think it is an advantage.

But then things change when you blow your whistle. If the heavy guy is getting up and down and the tall guy isnt. Or if the tall guy has a hesitant or late whistle and the heavy guy has awesome mechanics and makes good clear calls, there goes that initial impression--either negative or positive. Though I guess it is easier to lose a good impression your appearance created than it is to overcome a bad impression your appearance created.
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