Monthly Archives: April 2017

What NCAA officiating can teach us about life

First and foremost, let me say congratulations to the North Carolina Tar Heels for winning
the NCAA national championship in men’s basketball. They were a great team. Also, congratulations to Roy Williams on winning his third title. I have a soft spot for Ol’ Roy. He salvaged my Jayhawks from a potential pitfall back in 1989 when he took over as coach at the University of Kansas. He did a great job and I appreciated all his years of coaching. One of my greatest childhood memories is meeting Roy when I was delivering the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper to the University of Kansas athletic offices. My paper route, which I shared with my sister, was the entire University of Kansas campus.

But the national championship game was horrible.

It was exactly what a basketball game should not be. A plodding spectacle of whistles and blown calls. In a good basketball game you hardly notice the officials; they blend into the contours of the game. In this national championship game you hardly noticed the players; they were hidden behind the noise of the officials.

Meeks out of bounds as he ties-up the ball.

In just the last five minutes the officials assumed a three point shot had been tipped by the defender because it was such a bad shot (they were wrong); they reviewed a garden variety foul and called a phantom flagrant 1; they called a tie-up when one of the players was partially laying out of bounds (and they didn’t review even though the rules would have permitted); they called the ball in play even though a player landed with it out of bounds; and they let a player inbound the ball without ever stepping out of bounds.

My impression is that the officials were trying so hard to make the big calls in the big game that they failed to make the correct calls. They made up calls that were not there and they failed to call the little things that were.

The best officials do not step up their play when they officiate a big game; that is how you let a game get away from you. The best officials treat every game the same. It should not matter if you are officiating middle school B-teams or the NCAA national championship; the game is the same. When you treat one game as special, then you have already lost the ability to officiate it properly.

Now, it’s a lot easier to say that from the comfort of my couch then when you are standing in front of 40,000 people with a whistle around your neck. But it is a universal principal.

We need to treat every moment of every day with the importance it deserves. When we treat some moments as more important than others, then we lose the ability to live life in every moment. Every moment is special; we each have a finite number of them. The best way to make the most of thebig moments, is to approach every moment with same amount of respect. Do not try to make the big call in the big moment of life, try to make the right call in every moment. You won’t always succeed, but when the big moments come, you’ll have a better chance of being great.

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