Learning from the best from those in pursuit of the ball and those holding the whistle.
“Who are the most polite players on the field in the heat of battle?” was the question directed towards AFL Umpire, Ray Chamberlain, affectionately known as Razor Ray.
As he locked those determined and thoughtful eyes in my direction, “the superstars mostly have the best control over their emotions and behaviour” replied Ray drawing upon more than 300 senior games of umpiring experience.
“They are not looking for excuses or reasons why it is not their fault. They stay calm in the moment and are looking ahead to the next contest.”
The theatre of the big matches, beamed live onto any device, quite often focuses heavily on the dramatic. Too often, the aspects of confrontation become the story that distracts from the true beauty of sport, the value in human relationships.
The quality of the game, the sport, the skills and the experience is linked to the standard of officiating that is available. The AFL, in a growing and complicated sport environment, continues to strive as a leader for change and progress with many initiatives for inclusion, diversity and disability.
Ongoing objectives to continually improve and helping grassroots clubs succeed are to:
- Attract participants with improved levels of retention into AFL clubs
- Develop leadership and advocacy skills within clubs and community
- Provide professional skills development for AFL staff, teachers and volunteers
To achieve these outcomes are the education and training programs delivered within the early and formative years by coaches, teachers, parents, mentors and officials.
Being mindful of this reflection by Ray, drawing from deep personal experience in the game, a useful reminder why the quality of character coming from emotional intelligence is valuable.
It is our ongoing mission to keep available the best possible resources, training and knowledge to volunteers and clubs because apart from those in pursuit of the ball, we will always need more umpires