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Zebra Stripes

One thing you probably won't catch me doing again is refereeing...

I was a young middle school student and was asked by a former coach if I could referee a game of elementary school basketball.

Green behind the ears, of course I obliged.  I was excited to get my feet wet in another aspect of the game I love, and to learn as much as I possibly could.

I made my way down the street to the gym and greeted my coach.  He gave me a few brief instructions, a whistle, then let me loose.

Pretty confidently, I went to the center circle to toss the ball up and begin the game...

For those of you who are Club SEBU regulars, this game took place at the same gym where I was

Posterized at.  A lot of "great" memories on that court...

Anyways, the game began and I figured it would be easy because the kids were so young.  They were all smiling, laughing, and just having fun.  None of them were taking the game too seriously; they were just out there going through the motions.

I wish some of the spectators could have learned a lesson or two from the children...

Early on, two children collided, in what may have appeared to be a foul. 

Being the lone referee on the floor, and having the judgement of a middle school boy who has never reffed a game before, I didn't make the call.

Now I know that might sound wild, but the kids bounced up and never skipped a beat.  Their reactions were extremely influential in my decision for a no call...

Man, do I wish I could have made that call.

The spectators erupted.

"What are you blind?!...That's an obvious foul!"

I had no idea why they were so upset, but they were ready to drag me off the court.

A few possessions later, I called a foul that was clearly not a foul to try and right my wrong, and was met by yet another eruption.  This time from the opposing spectators.

"What?!?! You have GOT to be kidding me?!"

And the snowball only got bigger...

I made bad call after bad call and was consistently berated by the fans.

I was making such bad calls, that the opposing fans were actually agreeing at the end of the game and had one common

The interesting part about this whole situation is that I don't remember a single kid reacting to any of the calls.  They would hear my whistle, listen to what I said, and continue on having fun.  Funny how that works...

When the game ended, I rushed into my coaches office to hide from any more verbal attacks. 

The fans exited the court accordingly, but did not forget to leave without giving me a look of disgust.

I took my money and walked home. 

On this walk, I tried to understand why so many fans would attack a middle school kid reffing an elementary basketball game that counts for nothing.

I had no answers for it.  There was no answer for it.

Sometimes we encounter situations that are less than ideal and are exposed to reactions that we are not accustomed to.

Of course it would be easy to react similarly, but what would I gain from that?

I was severely outnumbered, considering I had upset the entire cheering section.  There was nothing that I could have done to reconcile the situation.  It happened.  I survived.  Move on.

Clearly I was not prepared to ref the game, and in the future, I would have to be.  Knowing yourself. 

The reactions of the fans were out of my realm of understanding or control.  Although today, I may have more insight as to why that may have happened, I still won't fully understand the rationale behind the hostility, and that is perfectly fine.

It is not our job to know how everything on Earth works, and how everyone on Earth reacts.

It is our job to prepare ourselves to the best of our abilities, and to understand that everyone reacts differently no matter how good of a job you think you did.

Know your job.  Do your job.  Enjoy your job.

Don't let the negative energy get under your skin...disgusted looks aren't as painful as you think.

Until next time,

Long Live The People

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