Sunday, March 11, 2012

Encouraging Players As An Official

I've officiated sports for nearly 20 years.  As I have piled on the years, I noticed that I run into a ton of former youth and/or high school players who recognize me.  Not only do they recognize me, they remember parts of games where I officiated and something happened.  It's actually a good feeling when people remember you as an official.  

I mention this because a couple of years ago, I ran into a current high school basketball player who recognized me from her youth days.  I was officiating some of her club team basketball games and so she said hi.  Turns out she was playing varsity for her high school as well.  As I worked a few JV games at her high school the past two seasons,  we would always say hi.

As I had not officiated high school this season, I had not run into her at all.  However, I decided to stop by her team's state playoff game tonight.  It was an opportunity to watch a good game and say hi to the the young lady.  Her team ended up winning and will have a long commute to their semi-final game.

Unfortunately, the young lady did not play in the game.  However, we did chat after the game a bit.  When I asker her how her season had been going,  she expressed disappointment that she hasn't played much this season after starting last season.   While I never played high school basketball myself, I encouraged her to stay positive and enjoy the experience.   After all, playing for your school only comes once a lifetime.

Though the young lady only knows me as an official, she probably didn't realize I was also a coach for a long time.   It was great that she was willing to share her feelings about her season and I was thankful for an opportunity to give her some positive encouragement.   It's not part of my regular job description as an official but just like I encourage friends when they are down (and vice versa),  I just did what I thought was needed.

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