The 2012 NFL season started amid incredible scandal and frustration. Many were concerned with the fact that league commissioner Roger Goodell refused to press for a resolution in the labor union standoff with the professional referees who patrol the sidelines. While the union argued such valid points as retirement and job security, the league was introduced to what was called the ‘replacement refs’. I will admit it was a bit comical to hear the arguments. But after week one of the NFL, I saw just how important having someone to watch the game and enforce the proper rules really were.
Week one and two were in the history books when the situation came to an explosive pitch. On September 24, 2012 all hell broke loose in Seattle Washington. As the Green Bay Packer and Seattle Seahawks game came down to a last second Hail Mary pass to the end zone, the replacement referees missed an obvious interception call which gave Seattle a win they did not earn. This released a firestorm on the commissioner and league, and of course the ‘real’ refs were on the field the following Sunday. In the middle of the controversy, both I and the world received a lesson on employing the right referees for the games. And more importantly, in the game of life I want to share why having professional ‘refs’ around to watch your back makes all the difference.
- A ref’s first goal is to maintain safety in the game: Life can be dangerous, so you need someone who is going to call a foul when things don’t look right. Having people in your life that can look at things that may injure you and knock you out of the game of life is a matter of life and death. One wrong hit by a relationship, job or family member can end a vibrant career.
- Refs express themselves from a different vantage point: We all have blind spots. We all miss things. The fact that you have a ref in your life to watch your back and alert you to things you didn’t see can save you both time and money. While your head is down working away, the refs are looking at the game from a much better position.
- Refs don’t quit because you hate the calls: We’ve seen a crowd turn violent when a ref calls a foul they do not agree with. In all sports, refs have to develop thick skin when players and coaches berate them with profanity. But once a call is made, it is what it is. We all need people who won’t change their minds because we become angry with their calls.
- A good ref will take the time to explain their actions: In the middle of the game some calls can seem questionable. A professional ref has the ability to explain exactly why they did what they did. We need people dedicated not only to sharing advice, but being patient enough to talk us through what just happened. Many times, things happen so swiftly we miss it. That’s when a ref is invaluable.
Thank goodness things have returned to normal in the National Football League and our beloved referees have taken the field again. We were given a glimpse of what chaos can occur when you do not have trained professionals. In life, seek out the people who have the skill sets to help you see the game from the right perspective. Remember, life is less about what happens to us and more about how we see it.
© 2012, Early L. Jackson. All rights reserved.