As we close out a very challenging and, for some of us, painful 2020 year, we are hopeful that the new year will bring us new insights into what is most important to us, what matters, and where we place our focus. I was recently reading an article from AARP that I received (And yes, I love AARP—what a wonderful organization). Although this information is not new, it is a great reminder.
What I want to pull out of the article is the importance of loving kindness and the gift of generosity. I want you to read a recent email I received about a family who has a daughter that helps officiate for her team. Here is what the parents had to say:
“This is my daughter. Her team lost in the quarterfinals of gold at Capital Hill in 14 Open. They then worked on court 13. Does anyone know this official? He was really good, but even better, he took time to let my daughter know she was doing a great job as R2. She raved about him (on the phone, her dad took her to DC). I was hoping he may belong in this group so I could say thank you. You, sir, made a huge impression by not only being a good ref, but taking time to teach the next generation. This mom/coach just wanted you to know you made a difference today.”
I hope you found these words uplifting for all of us; these words are about you, every one of you—your generosity, your kindness, and how you treat the players, coaches and each other.
You are the core of our family. You show every day a spirit of professionalism, civility, and calm as others may struggle and be distressed.
Life has been challenging this year, maybe the most difficult in our lives, yet you continue to show generosity of spirit.
Please read the article above as it has so much incredible information for us to think about. The important things I pulled from the article were a few “How To” thoughts.
- Identify someone who could use some kindness.
- Ask yourself, “How can I be nice to others today?”
- Baby steps.
- Take a grassroots approach – for me, this one was so important particularly as it relates to recruiting up-and-coming referees. Our teammate above did a great job showing a young player that referees are great people. Recruiting new referees takes all of us.
- Do some digging.
- Join an organization.
- Become a cheerleader.
- Give to those in need.
Let me leave you with one final thought as we enter the unknown of 2021, as the pandemic looms in front of us and so many of our friends and neighbors are hurting and in need. Please take care of yourself. I remember a coach said to me once, “Remember to put your mask on, before assisting others.” This holds true for all of us. Take care of yourself, get your rest, this is one of the most important things you can do for your long-term health. Get outside and get some fresh air and exercise in whatever form works for you. Eat well, remember your fruits and vegetables. Most importantly bring light for yourself and for others. You are the shining examples of service. I am so honored to be part of this family, and we will together get through this challenge we all face in 2021. Take care of yourselves, stay well, help keep others safe, and have a wonderful holiday season and happy new year.
Please join me in honoring those who have retired in 2020 and those we have lost:
- Ross Erickson – North Country Region, 17-year National Referee, 11-year National Score
- Albert Fields – Southern Region, 19-year National Referee
- Mike Hamilton – Heart of America, 25-year National Referee
- Eric Hoffman – Chesapeake Region, 22-year National Referee
- Ward Kostek – Lone Star Region, 11-year National Scorer
- Bob McCarthy – Southern California Region, 21-year National Referee, retired in 2013
- Kim Renquest – Rocky Mountain Region, 13-year National Referee
- Larry Talbott – Heart of America Region, 23-year Junior National Referee
2020 Memorial: Our Dear Friends We Have Lost
- Kay Brown – Norther California Region, 22-year National Scorer and International Scorer
- Paul Davis – Iowa Region, 6-year Junior National Referee
- George Miles – Intermountain Region, 6-year National Referee – Former Commissioner IM Region
- Terry Miller – Ohio Valley Region, 27-year National Referee and Scorer
- Stacey Olewiler – Keystone Region, 14-year Junior National Referee
- Lev Zavalkov – Southern California Region, 11-year Junior National Referee, Retired in 2018
If one of our teammates is missing from either list, please email email@example.com.