I’m ready for the season. I’m registered, certified, confident and ready to hit the court. I’ve been assigned a steady diet of large school freshman and sophomore games with older, more experienced officials, and numerous smaller school varsity games. 32 nights. 53 different games. I’m staying sharp by officiating rec leagues and helping out with first year guys. I’ve been blessed with an understanding wife and family, great mentors, understanding employer and good health. One thing that struck me this morning was the “what if” factor. What if I hadn’t run into the great teachers that I’ve come to know as friends, who have answered my questions, redirected me when wrong and supported my growth? Would I still be in the position that I find myself in now? Not likely. Our good and gracious Lord put them there, and for that I’m thankful as well.

I recently ran into an experienced baseball umpire, younger than me, full of passion for the game, whom I had met last March at an umpiring clinic. I’ve run into him a couplea times throughout the summer but something about him always struck me as “off”. It wasn’t his knowledge of the game, rules or game management (though he is a little gungho)….it’s that he sounds like the cartoon character Daffy Duck. I’m dead serious. I’m sure that by the third or fourth inning everyone within earshot is tired of hearing “TTTTHHHHHHHRRRRIIIKKKKKEEEE THREEEE!!” or “TTTHHHHHAAFFFFEEEE!!” So maybe I won’t be as passionate about baseball as I am about basketball…I can live with that for now. I have a seasons worth of games with the knowledge that more will hopefully spring up.

Until then…peace,
R

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