Saturday, April 22, 2017

Whistle Blower

We study the Parable of the Rich Fool in my classes. The story begins with a young man interrupting Jesus as He taught and demanded the Master intervene in a family matter concerning a will. Jesus asked who made him an arbiter, which I explained is like a referee. I believe every fan-player-coach should be required to don the striped shirt to know how it feels. What follows, from March 21, 2007, is about one such episode in my basketball practices.

Tomorrow will be a first in our basketball practice period. Our weekly game day will match the 6-7th graders versus the 8th graders in a full court regulation contest. That's not the big thing, though. Tomorrow is the solo refereeing debut of Christian Chevis, my student assistant. Christian played for me in middle school but went the cheerleading route in high school years. I've been prepping her by letting her help me officiate our four on four on four drills. The last several days, I told the girls at the start of our session that we would run if Christian didn't blow the whistle very loudly. I had her blow a blast or two; she did OK. Three of my last four student aides have been young men; Ugo, Sean, and Brandon. They were excellent high school players and this season graced the hardwoods collegiately for Cornell, Tulsa, and the University of Texas-Dallas. More importantly, they were terrific in teaching my girls the skills of basketball. BUT, they were not great officials. They were reluctant to blow the whistle with authority, if at all. Ugo, in particular, used his whistle sparingly, reasoning the girls needed to get tougher. The Lady Wildcats, as much as they loved my assistants, wanted me to officiate. They will be understanding of Christian, knowing its her initial foray into refdom. There will be no complaining. I'm no prophet but I foresee considerable running for several days if there would happen to be! The NBA suspends players on their sixteenth technical of the season. We start at one.

Do you know what makes a good referee? Knowledge of the rules is very important as is keeping an even temper. I think the number one rule, and you might think this is too simple, is blowing the whistle. Blow it quickly and blow it loudly, but blow it. Players at all levels respect an official who is in charge and the best way to display it is decisiveness. Decisiveness stems from confidence. Referees and umpires are indispensable in any sort of organized sport but it's getting harder and harder to find people who want to be involved. Officials in any sport, at the most basic level, simply settle constant disputes that can arise about boundaries, fouling, equipment, territoriality, etc. It's the same in life. A man came to Jesus asking him to be the referee between he and his brother over an estate. Jesus pointedly declined, not apparently because he objected to being an unbiased arbiter but because the issue was greed. In the wilderness, Moses selected men to handle disagreements bound to arise within such a large group. In 1st Corinthians 6, Paul chews out the church for suing each other, stating that even brothers of little account could adequately serve as judges in their inter-brethren squabbles. Some of my students erroneously believe it is wrong to ever judge but that isn't what the scriptures teach. Careless judging and harsh judging are condemned. We will get back what we give. Will Christian be an effective referee tomorrow? It's a growth process but she'll do great. In fact, it was her choice to wear the striped shirt. She only has to remember three little words: Blow the whistle!

Applicable quote of the day:
"The trouble with referees is that they just don't care which side wins."
Tom Canterbury

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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