Gut Feeling and Judging Character at Sports Clubs

Posted on March 31, 2015

One of the things I have found whilst running the indoor cricket centre this winter, is that I am really quick to judge people as they approach me when I am working behind the bar.

On Sunday, I have had three classic cases in point, firstly when a woman came in and haughtily asked if she could have two coffees and as I was preparing them said…“Could you make it quick and put a quarter of a t-spoon of sugar in one?” 

“Oh why don’t you piss off!” I replied, before chucking the coffee in her face.

I didn’t say or do that that of course, as it is not the done thing, but good God, I felt like it.

Then, a few seconds later, three loud blokes came in, filling me with instant and irrational hatred that was gently simmering towards boiling point even before they spoke.

“A COFFEE PLEASE SIR!!” One bellowed at the top of his voice.

How would you like that?”


His friends then joined him laughing hysterically at a joke I first heard as a schoolboy watching the film Airplane. My only consolation for my utter disdain towards them was a private fantasy where I would line them up, and one by one, punch them in the face.

As they went off to play table tennis and practice their ridiculous high pitched whooping noises in preparation for the summer cricket season, another lady approached the bar to be greeted by someone who was now over-cooking on adrenalin and ready to blow. Namely, me.

“Why am I so useless at cricket?” she said wistfully.

This is a question I ask myself approximately fifty times a year, so without noticing it, she was mirroring me and instantly bringing me back to the polite and helpful person I am capable of being, at least on occasion.


I am useless at cricket, despite this photo that tells a 1000 lies

It was at this moment that I realised that I have instant empathy with useless and humble people, whilst I find those who are demanding and confident, carrying the excruciating ability to piss themselves laughing at their stolen jokes, intolerable to the point of violent verbal rebuke.

I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t think they are a good judge of character, but I have met many who clearly are not and get it spectacularly wrong, almost on a daily basis; these are generally people who have a warm character but are also vulnerable to having their good nature abused.

On these three separate occasions, I think I got it right.

I have come to the conclusion that when we say “I am a good judge of character me” it is a defence mechanism to protect us from people finding out that sometimes we are not and we get it hopelessly wrong. I have and so have all of you reading this, at least at some point.

If you haven’t, go away and read something else, because I don’t like you.

However, I still think that the gut feeling we get when we first meet people is a great indicator to social compatibility. I found this was with the case of a couple of guys who joined our cricket club recently and doing so almost under the radar, quietly getting noticed for their good nature amongst the clique that innocently but obviously exists in a group who have known each other for years.

It is easy for some people to deny it, but cliques always do exist in clubs, whether it is football, cricket, golf, fishing…you name it. However, whilst some (golf clubs are a great example) are utterly vulgar in their approach to outsiders, others are merely defending their image and the status of a club that their personality fits.

Since being the chairman of our cricket club, I have tried to instil an atmosphere and a committee of people where lucid behaviour, self-depreciation and lack of discernible talent are as important as winning and competing.

Not only does this offer me the self-serving opportunity of  getting a game of cricket despite my obvious limitations, it also creates an environment where opposing teams may be prepared to spend money when using the bar and facilities after games. Without that money, you go bust, and plenty of clubs have done.

Certain sportsmen join certain clubs, that is why some clubs seem uniquely arrogant from top to bottom, it is an attraction to type. It is only when arrogance interferes with the humble when the problems surface, simmer and then erupt. It is something you have to be constantly alert to, it is a classic example of the one bad apple theory and it can wreck a club.

So in somewhat confused summary, if you know someone who perpetually claims they are a good judge of character, you can make the assumption they are putting up a front to protect themselves as a hopeless one.

In the meantime you should really get yourself down to Oakley Cricket Club, it’s a great place with great people and everyone is welcome…it really is second to none.


Because I said so.

Right, I’m off for drink with Jeremy Clarkson, he’s a great bloke.

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