“Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with the wind.” ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie
Have you ever felt like things just aren’t going your way? Sometimes just moments. Other times, maybe days.
And you have to somehow deal with these moments before your life can move on.
This too, shall pass.
Today, I’ll share a story from this past weekend.
A busy weekend, I knew it would be. My first year as the director of the basketball tournament for our girls basketball program. A great team of people had been assembled to bring this all together. And together, it had come. After several months of preparation, the tournament was upon us. This would involve two days of non-stop basketball for girls in 5th through 8th grade. Sixty four teams. Ninety six games. Two days.
Everything was in place. Saturday morning came, and besides some minor scheduling issues, the day began much like I had hoped. We were off. And day one continued along smoothly. Sure, there were minor hiccups along the way. Much like life, we can plan everything out, yet things come up. And they did. All minor, though. Fifteen hours after the day had begun, we headed home – weary and exhausted, yet also filled with relief in a day done and successful.
Day two. The younger grades playing – 5th and 6th grades. Fifth grade would be first. And once again, the day began with minor scheduling issues, with everything else going just as planned. And I wandered between the four courts of basketball going on, I checked in with our volunteers, I met with our referees. And then, there I was, meeting with our volunteer coordinator (my wife) when it happened.
A coach came rushing out of one of the gym doors. By the look, it was obvious something was wrong. He quickly approached me, and I could easily sense his tension rising. The referee had ejected him from the game. For raising his arms. And girls were getting hurt on the floor. (Note: I’m not here to pass judgment on who was right or wrong in this case)
I quickly went into the gym. The game was stopped. Coaches from both teams were out on the floor. The two referee’s were on the floor. The whole situation felt volatile and laced with tension. I approached the referee. He was visibly upset. I had already heard the coach’s side of the story. Now I was privy to the referee’s side of the story. Not all that different, the two stories were. In fact, the only real difference was whether or not the girls getting hurt was inadvertent or whether it was the result of a foul. And we have no instant replay…
And this all leads up to…
The referee asked me to address the crowd of the team who had two players leave the game because of injuries (and the team whose coach had been ejected). My task: explain the rules, as the referee had called them, so there was no question as to who was getting the ball, and why this had happened. Being this was the parents to the team with the ejected coach, and because these parents were already upset with the officiating – the referee felt it best if I addressed the parents. There was a group of maybe 30-40 people in the stands. This shouldn’t be too bad, right? Just explain the rules, and move on.
As I began to address the crowd, I quickly realized the emotional state of the whole crowd. These were their kids out there. And they all believed the game was getting out of control. (I have no basis for whether it was or not) As soon as I spoke to them – I was verbally “beaten up”. Yelling. Screaming. Gnashing of teeth. Finger pointing. Looks of disgust. I spent a couple of minutes attempting to both explain the rules, and to calm the crowd down (it seemed like an hour). At which point, the game began again, and I licked my wounds and moved off to the side. I had tried to remain calm, under control, and neutral throughout it all. Did I? I think so, although I don’t really know for sure, it all happened so fast.
I stayed to observe the rest of the game. It all went off without problem. After the game, I spoke with people from both sides – in a further attempt to assess what had occurred.
The point here being that sometimes you’re going to be thrust into situations that challenge you. I was pulled into this game, not knowing what I was getting into. And when I addressed the crowd of people, I also did not know what to expect. And I was beaten up. Verbally. And the truth is, that’s going to happen in life. Not every moment is going to be rosy. There will be moments when life beats you up. When, out of the blue, you’re thrust into a situation that challenges you at many levels.
How do you deal with those moments in your life when things aren’t exactly as you’d like them to be? What do you do when some adverse situation presents itself? Remember that you always have a choice. You have the choice in how to respond. How will you?