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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 08:02am
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Glasses

I've been an official here in Pa for about 15 yrs. While coming up through the JV ranks I always wore my glasses and not contact lens since I thought they were uncomfortable. A few senior officials told me the only way I would get moved up to varsity ball was to wear contacts, so I tried them again. After doing so, I was moved up and have enjoyed doing varsity ball for going on 9 yrs now and even got to do a district final last year. I still don't like wearing contacts and only wear them to do varsity ball. This being said, last March I developed a serious eye infection from using a bad lot of contact lens solution from a manufacturer that was in the news earlier this year. My eye is 100% healed now but...I've decided not to wear contacts ever again after going through that mess. Sooo, my question is...does anyone wear their glasses while officiating? If so, do you do varsity ball? I'm curious to see what if anything is said this season when I wear my glasses and not the contacts. Hopefully nothing.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 08:47am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John H
I've been an official here in Pa for about 15 yrs. While coming up through the JV ranks I always wore my glasses and not contact lens since I thought they were uncomfortable. A few senior officials told me the only way I would get moved up to varsity ball was to wear contacts, so I tried them again. After doing so, I was moved up and have enjoyed doing varsity ball for going on 9 yrs now and even got to do a district final last year. I still don't like wearing contacts and only wear them to do varsity ball. This being said, last March I developed a serious eye infection from using a bad lot of contact lens solution from a manufacturer that was in the news earlier this year. My eye is 100% healed now but...I've decided not to wear contacts ever again after going through that mess. Sooo, my question is...does anyone wear their glasses while officiating? If so, do you do varsity ball? I'm curious to see what if anything is said this season when I wear my glasses and not the contacts. Hopefully nothing.
I don't wear glasses so pardon me for responding but I couldn't resist. Sounds like you maybe fighting the "you sure need those glasses" comment from the peanut gallery and etc. Preception is reality and all that stuff. And I have a concern about getting hit with them on doing a jump ball or just in general. BUTyour health and what you previously went through is THE deciding factor. WEAR 'EM. You got some time in at the varsity level and you probably have gain some creditibilty in your nine years....so go knock em dead. Get the calls right and it won't matter. Be approachable and comfortable with it and it won't matter. Anyone ask...you have to wear you can't wear contacts. Period. And if this motivational speech doesn't work for you then there's always laser surgery. By the way, if you do decide to wear them let someone else toss the ball ( FOR MY PEACE OF MIND) and DON'T HAVE RABBIT EARS.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 08:48am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John H
This being said, last March I developed a serious eye infection from using a bad lot of contact lens solution from a manufacturer that was in the news earlier this year. My eye is 100% healed now but...I've decided not to wear contacts ever again after going through that mess.
In the spirit of always blaming the victim for the crime, why would you change to a new solution if your old one had been working all these years?

BTW, If you get the one-day disposable lenses, you won't need any solutions, they are much more comfortable (although harder to put on at first), and you just throw them away when you're finished. If you get them on-line, they average about a buck a pair, so they are fairly cost effective as well. Ask your eye doctor about them.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 09:08am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John H
I've been an official here in Pa for about 15 yrs. While coming up through the JV ranks I always wore my glasses and not contact lens since I thought they were uncomfortable. A few senior officials told me the only way I would get moved up to varsity ball was to wear contacts, so I tried them again. After doing so, I was moved up and have enjoyed doing varsity ball for going on 9 yrs now and even got to do a district final last year. I still don't like wearing contacts and only wear them to do varsity ball. This being said, last March I developed a serious eye infection from using a bad lot of contact lens solution from a manufacturer that was in the news earlier this year. My eye is 100% healed now but...I've decided not to wear contacts ever again after going through that mess. Sooo, my question is...does anyone wear their glasses while officiating? If so, do you do varsity ball? I'm curious to see what if anything is said this season when I wear my glasses and not the contacts. Hopefully nothing.
Maybe you've now reached a point of respect in your group that the "perception" that glasses can bring will not hurt you. I guess you'll find out.

I always wear my contacts when I ref. IMO, glasses on an official do not look very athletic and it would drive me crazy to have glasses on while I was running and sweating.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 09:14am
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I also wear contacts only when I'm working games. I find them somewhat uncomfortable the first couple of games, but I adjust as the season rolls along. I can wear glasses through games, but the contacts are more practical since they don't slide down my nose when I sweat.

I understand your fear of going back to contacts, but I'd recommend trying it. Buy only the most expensive solution from the biggest name manufacturers. That will assuage your fears a little until you feel some trust in the system again.

Still, glasses are practical enough if you choose them carefully, and manage them appropriately. You might get a special pair just for reffing. They've got some beastly expensive but very safe flexible metal frames that look snappy and would be less subject to damage if you got hit with the ball.

I think you will overcome the "you need those glasses" stuff by being very good (which you obviously are) and very personable. Unless your correction is so bad that you look like you're peering through a star-gazing telescope, I think a person can get past this problem.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 09:16am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John H
Sooo, my question is...does anyone wear their glasses while officiating? If so, do you do varsity ball? I'm curious to see what if anything is said this season when I wear my glasses and not the contacts. Hopefully nothing.
I wore contacts for a year in high school, and didn't like them much, and in my job I need to have some type of eye protection anyhow, so I just stuck with eyeglasses for years. I wore them my first 2 years officiating.

For some of the same concerns you mentioned, I decided I could try contacts again, now that they have improved since I wore them last. So a month into last season, my third, I switched.

I really felt I had a better field of vision, and no worries about keeping the eyeglasses secure and lenses clear. It surprised me how much more at ease I was. I have no desire to go back to glasses for officiating.

Since I'm new at this, I wasn't yet too concerned about getting varsity games. The eyeglasses issue was never mentioned to me, and I never heard it discussed regarding anyone else. In fact, I can name a handful of officials (varsity and otherwise) I saw work last season that had eyeglasses.

You'll either hear "You need new glasses" or "You should get some glasses" from the stands, so there's no winning there. If your association prefers contacts, that's another thing. Sounds to me like you have made a thoughtful decision. Don't look back on it.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 09:52am
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This very subject was brought up at my conference meeting last night. When I first started officiating about 15 years ago, I was told to wear contacts because glasses didn't look as "athletic", and it helps avoid all the smart-aleck comments from the stands. But last night was one of the first times I'd heard a supervisor actually say there's no problem if you have to wear glasses. It's even ok to wear a neatly-trimmed mustache. These were all taboo 15 years ago. But I think people are starting to realize if you can referee, it really doesn't matter if you wear glasses vs. contacts. Maybe, subconsciously, wearing contacts helps with a first impression the first time you're at a new gym. But if the schools already know you, I don't think they care if you show up with or without glasses, as long as you call the game right.

On the flip side, I still wear contacts for the some of the other reasons mentioned - I have more peripheral vision than with glasses, and I don't have the problem of fogging and having to wipe them off when I sweat. So it seems like it has become a personal preference rather than a "requirement" for moving up.
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Last edited by M&M Guy; Thu Oct 05, 2006 at 10:11am.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 10:07am
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When I first started, I was told not to wear my glasses because of perception. I choose not to wear them because I don't want them on my face when I'm sweating. About the only time I wear my contacts anymore is when I work out or officiate. I'd say go with what's most comfortable for you.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 10:22am
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This is personal decision all the way. I can see why you would be skeptical to wear contacts and for good reason. I wear contacts as well. I wear Focus Dailies. I only have to wear them once and throw them away. I only wear contacts when I work games or for special occasions. I do not have to use any solution for these contacts and I love them and they are not very irritating.

It is unfortunate, but perception is reality. If you wear glasses there is going to be an issue if you can see and that judgment from other people will affect how they treat you and might affect what opportunities you receive. Also do not let this one sanitation change what you do. If I am not mistaken the problem with that solution was with one company. Life is not fair, so if you wear your glasses, you might hold yourself back in some way. Just a fact of the game we are in.

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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 11:24am
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I wear disposible contacts, but the two week kind. My first set of lenses, 25+ years ago, were hard contact lenses, so anything remotely soft doesn't bother me in the least. The only time I have a problem is if my eyes get dry, and that only happens when I'm not active. I've waterskiied, snowskiied, swam, ridden moutain bikes, etc. in contact lenses and never lost one or had any problem while active. But if I had to wear glasses for whatever reason while officiating, I'd have to quit since I sweat so profusely, I'd be drying off the lenses way too often.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 11:31am
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I have worn glasses for my entire officiating career and it hasn't affected my ability to advance. When I moved to a new area a few years ago, one official in my association was talking to me about how to improve, and one thing he mentioned was my glasses. The whole perception speech and all that. I never even had glasses until I was 23 years old, and when I first got them, I tried contacts and it felt like they were sticking rocks in my eyes. I have since talked to my eye doctor about contacts, but I have a really bad astigmatism on one eye that make contacts virtually impossible. I have considered the Lasik eye surgery, however, with kids needing braces, that's probably not going to happen any time soon.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 11:40am
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My advice, overcome the glasses obstacle with sheer ability. We had a guy here in Texas work the Girls State Tournament that had glasses on and did a great job. I'm only 23, but I had to start wearing contacts because my eyes I know are only gonna get worse cuz it runs in my family. But personally, I would never wanna wear glasses, purely because of the perception factor. No NBA guys wear 'em.

CH
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 02:22pm
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M&M, I think we were at the same meeting last night.
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 02:28pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisSportsFan
M&M, I think we were at the same meeting last night.
Were you in St. Louis?
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Old Thu Oct 05, 2006, 02:31pm
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Yup, I was there.
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