Archive for January, 2012

Sometimes the wrong call is the right call

January 31, 2012

I have refereed basketball for 30-plus years. During that time I have got quite a few of my calls correct, but I will admit that I have probably missed more than my share as well. At least I have if you listen to the coaches and fans.

Last week, however, I readily admit to missing a call. What’s more, I intentionally made a call that was unwarranted.

But, I would do it again if needed.

I was refereeing a kid’s game in a church league. My best guess is that they were 8 and 9-year-olds.

The team that was winning by a substantial margin late in the game had a special needs child playing. The coach of that team was trying his best to get this young boy an opportunity to score a basket, but to now avail.

The team they were playing, though behind by 20 points, seemed to take delight in guarding this particular player so he could not even touch the ball. Finally, late in the game, he caught a pass and was fouled. The foul was legitimate. The problem was that he was not shooting the ball. As I debated what to do, my partner beat me to it and put the kid on the line to shoot two foul shots.

In a sense I was relieved. I really didn’t want to have to “make up” a call. The young boy missed his first foul shot and it was not even close. The second shot almost went in, but missed. Here was my dilemma. I knew he would probably not get another shot before the game ended, so I “made up” a lane violation that did not exist and gave him one more chance. The ball hit the rim, bounced high and dropped through. He scored.

As an official I take my role seriously. I would never intentionally make a wrong call that would impact the outcome of a game. This call added one point to a team that had the game well in hand.

But, after seeing the look on that youngster’s face and the excitement he showed, I knew that my wrong call, at least this time, was indeed the right call.

So long to a friend

January 17, 2012

I received word today that fellow Baptist journalist Jim Newton died on Jan. 16 after complications from leukemia.

Jim Newton was not only a friend and colleague, he was a mentor to me and countless others who came through the Baptist journalism ranks in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.

A former associate editor of Baptist Press, Jim worked for many years with the former Southern Baptist Convention Brotherhood Commission and later the Home Mission Board.

Jim Newton was an excellent journalist. He won countless awards for his writing. Jim also had a heart and passion for missions. Many of his feature articles shared stories of national and international missionaries.

We have all heard about “Timbuktu.” Jim actually wrote a book entitled “The Way to Timbukto” which was used as the basis for the 1981 foreign mission study on “French-speaking West Africa.”

In the mid-1980s, Jim interviewed me for a position at the Home Mission Board. It would have been an honor and privilege to work with him, but it was not in God’s timing. I hated to tell Jim “no” but he understood and wished me well.

Pray for Jim’s wife, Pat, and their children. Jim impacted many people during his ministry as a Baptist journalist. He will be missed.

It’s okay to root for Tim Tebow

January 10, 2012

I have been amazed with the reactions to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

Tebow is a devout Christian and a member of a Southern Baptist church — First Baptist in Jacksonville, Fla.

Tebow is blasted by some people for his Christian convictions and beliefs. I can understand the dislike of Tebow by people who profess no Christian faith, but there are people of faith who dislike the former University of Florida star.

As a fan of another SEC school (University of South Carolina) that Tebow used to beat with regularity, I was not a big Tebow fan while he was in college. And, I am not a huge Denver Broncos fan either. But I do root for Tebow to do well. He is not a great NFL quarterback. Some would say he is not even a good or average NFL quarterback. But what I like about Tebow is his desire to compete to the best of his ability each time he steps on the field. The bottom line is that Tim Tebow is a winner.

As a Christian, I want Tebow to succeed. Why? Because he never fails to give credit to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In last Sunday’s dramatic overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow thanked God before millions of viewers on national television. He has a platform that most of us will never have.

Christians don’t have to become fans of the team Tebow plays for or pull for him when he is playing their team, but it is okay to root for him individually. He is a Christian role model in a society where good role models are desperately needed.

May his tribe increase.