JAN 23


In the old days, style and flair in officiating was easy to recognize. It was prevalent in a lot of games. Today, most assigners want officials to model “by‑the‑book” signals and mechanics. While personality has been shoved to the background, is there still some
room for it?
Think back to when you first started officiating. Chances are there was someone already in the profession whom you emulated.
It might have been the way that person ran onto the field or the court. It might have been the way a runner was called out on a close play at first base, or how the whistle was blown. But one way or another, that official stood out from the crowd. In short, he or she had style.
Many of the legendary figures in officiating circles had distinct individual styles. Men like longtime NL umpire Al Barlick or NFL referee Tommy Bell had a certain mystique about them. Their mannerisms, be it Barlick’s decisive strike call, or Bell’s emphatic way of signaling a penalty, made them appear decisive and in control.
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