You go out and work as hard and as honestly as you can…and you find yourself being criticized by people who don’t know the first thing about it. – Jocko Conlan
Jocko Conlan was a major league baseball umpire, working in the National League from 1941 through 1965. Before that he had a brief career as an outfielder with the Chicago White Sox. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
Regular readers of mine know we’ve been officiating high school sports for an awfully long time and it should be no surprise today’s thought resonates with us.
Sports officiating lends itself to criticism. Games are usually played in a partisan, highly charged atmosphere and every call annoys someone, causing fans to yell and players to use God’s name in a manner inconsistent with praise. I’ve also long felt this was because an official’s decision is not subject to appeal, making people angrier because they have no recourse. I say the runner is out he is out and that’s that, even if he was down the right field line doing knee bends by the time the ball got to first base. Instant replay at professional games is changing this somewhat, but amateur games are still great fun to officiate.
Baseball umpiring specifically falls into this category because there is a long, entertaining history of on-field arguments, arguments that wouldn’t be tolerated in other sports. An official regularly finds himself criticized by those who simply do not know what they are talking about. It’s the second most misunderstood job, right behind prostitution. Sports officials hardly have an exclusive on that, either, as people in all walks of life find themselves criticized by the unknowing.
You go out and work as hard and as honestly as you can…
And that’s really all you can do in any aspect of human endeavor, from building a chair to painting a picture to working home plate. There will always be critics; that’s the way the world is built. As long as we are living from the inside out, answering to the inner force that guides us instead of reacting to outside influences, we are always guaranteed of success.