ARBITER...in a competitive world I first officiated a sporting event while I was in the navy and the referee for a league touch football game didn't show up. It was interesting because it was automatic for me to "call 'em like I saw 'em." In San Antonio I had a baseball team that played all comers and again one day when no umpire showed up, I volunteered and found that I could be objective even though it might adversely affect my team's fortunes. When I moved to San Francisco, I heard of a need for professional umpires to handle local high-level sandlot games and as I had no job I took it on with enough success that I was in demand and worked 7 or 8 games a week. Very few people are willing to endure the verbal (mostly) attacks associated with being judge, jury and executioner in an area where competition is so fierce. I was a baseball fan since the Jackie Robinson inclusion. With umpiring, I learned a great deal about being simultaneously disinterested and arbitrary. Umpiring is a perfect example of the second kind of truth. Like a TV commercial in which an actress playing an underwear inspector says, "It can't say 'Haynes' until I say it can say 'Haynes'" so in baseball, you're not safe until the umpire says you're safe. Such truths irritate the participants, witness the violent squabbles rampant in many games, but it is also well understood that the game could not be played without having an independent truth maker. The same theory applies to the institution of government or business. Somebody has to decide which scene gets shown, which winds up on the cutting-room floor. On their surface athletic contests seem to be conflict but it soon is evident that they are fully cooperative efforts. This is also true of business competition, fights, and even war. The advent of instant universal communication brings us together in a huge verbal network so that we can hope to eliminate borders and other barriers. Just as Jackie Robinson's use of baseball as a demonstration of the obsolescence of separate leagues for Negroes, so the jetliner and satellite communication are changing such customs as Customs Services. Baseball played by high school and older amateur athletes is much like its professional model - a world unto itself. The participants' lives are heavy with the lore and exuberance of participation. The most telling thing I learned is that competition is a form of cooperation, not of conflict Umpiring gives a unique feeling; one makes of oneself a sort of stimulus/response machine and merely calls the plays reflexively. It is a very detached thing; when the players argue it often seems quite absurd and always becomes a sort of "theater of confrontation." Most of the time there is full cooperation between competitors and officials because it is accepted that without impartial arbitration the game becomes impossible. In our culture we focus on competition as conflict but conjunctive effort is a more appropriate model. At one time the rules of baseball forbade fraternization among competitors before contests, now we aren't surprised when a football player tells his rival "nice hit." The techniques used by baseball umpires are little appreciated by fans or players. A famous catcher turned TV analyst holds forth about certain players "getting the calls" and the methods he used when playing to influence decisions. I often wonder if a year of calling balls and strikes would make him aware of certain psychological facts: there is no time to call pitches if one waits to see where the catcher's mitt receives the ball - the call is made prior to that, when the ball crosses or misses the plate. When I was umpiring I was unaware of who's a rookie and who a star. You wouldn't last a month as a professional umpire if you had all the prejudices and influences cited by reporters. One of the few instances of cannabian interference with performance was trying to umpire while high. I tried it once, and was too laid back to have an attitude of importance about what I was doing. Calls were delayed and I'm sure I seemed indifferent - which doesn't work well. Indecision when the job is deciding just doesn't qualify.