Worry weighs a person down;
an encouraging word cheers a person up.
My regular readers may remember when I officiated some basketball games and had this inward moral conflict going on inside me as to whether to take this extra money the tournament director tried to pay me. I decided to give the money back but he let me keep it. Read here if you didn’t see it.
Anyway that school had a tournament again this past weekend and I made my first return there since then. I saw that same director who greeted me with a smile and said, “Man I am sure glad to see you.!” I said, “Why do you say that?” He said, “Because you are an excellent official, and a great person.” Later on he joked with me about not wanting to take his money, and we had a laugh about it. Needless to say he didn’t forget that incident and it made an impression on him.
I bring this up not to pay myself on the back. Just last Thursday a parent greeted me on the floor after a championship game of 6th graders ended in an exciting buzzer beating finish. I thought it was his kid that hit the shot and as he walked towards me with a half cocked grin, I stopped, held out my hand to shake his and asked, “Was that your kid who hit the shot?” He said, “No… and you suck!” There are times I literally leave a gym depressed and weighed down after having every single thing I call or don’t call loudly second guessed and throughout the course of a game been called everything BUT a child of God. Sure some parents and coaches really know the game and some don’t know Sugar Honey Ice Tea!
The point of this post is just to say that Saturday I was really having a challenging day from an emotional perspective. No matter what I try to be a top notch professional and have a positive attitude with the students I ref. But I thought it would be a long day mentally and a part of me wanted to be someplace else.
Hearing the tournament director’s encouraging words really did a service to my spirit however. For one I know that he is hard on officials. I have read his emails to others criticizing officials who are lazy or those who may seem incompetent. Bad officiating is bad for business as teams don’t want to pay to get in tournament if the refs are horrible. Win or lose, coaches and parents will talk about who they think called a consistent game. So I have a pretty decent reputation for handling myself a certain way. That aside the fact that a guy took the time to say something good and meaningful to me pushed me to the point where I was able to manage the thing that was bothering me and really step my game up even more.
The world is really hurting out there. And flowers are often needed when one is living, not at the funeral. If you have something good to say about someone out there – something that you really mean from your heart that will add life, by all means say it. You never know the effect it can have. And you never know what someone is going through at the time you say it.