Dane Johnson: Repossessors and referees
I worked my way through Bible college, repossessing cars for a living. Really, I did! My junior and senior years of college, and the eight years following graduation were filled with the adventure of sneaking into folks backyards and driveways....usually in the middle of the night.... and stealing their car on behalf of several major banks in the Southland.
As you can imagine, pretty much every night that I was in the field, I would come face to face with an angry car owner who wanted to rip me limb from limb....and then REALLY hurt me! When in confrontation, I would always tell them the same thing; "this isn't personal, I'm just doing my job." The problem was though, that it was NEVER a win for me! If I took the car, the owner was angry. If I didn't, the bank was mad and wouldn't pay me...which meant my wife was mad because our baby wasn't getting new shoes! And sometimes, if the car was junk, EVERYONE was mad! I couldn't win!
I got to thinking about those repo days this past week. For the next several weeks of fall, all over America, we will witness a very similar interaction between football coaches, furious at missed calls (or made ones), referees defending those same calls, coaches complaining about the lack of parental support for the program, and fans shrieking at the incompetence of the coaches....AND the refs! And the players get caught up in the middle of the mess, leading some to think, "We just can't win!"
The amazing thing is, that 99.999% of the coaches I know really do care about the young men they coach. They have a heart for developing them as men while representing their school and winning games (why else would they work countless hours for a couple thousand dollars a year)! And 99.999%....well maybe 99.997% of referees I've encountered over the years, really don't have an agenda other than keeping the game inside the rules and safe for the players. They genuinely want the game to go well and the best team to win. And what may surprise some coaches.....those parents really DO care about the program, but just like us, they don't always show it in the right ways.
So....what if we all just stepped back and took a deep breath... reminded ourselves that football is the greatest game on earth and we get to participate in it....and began trusting one another's good intentions? I bet...that if we began expecting the best out of one another, we would end up getting more of the best, out of one another!
I love this game and the people in it! See ya at the stadium!
The Times is pleased to have Dane Johnson blogging his thoughts on high school football throughout the season. Johnson, a football coach at San Dimas High, has been a football coach for more than 20 years in the San Gabriel Valley and is also a pastor at Christ's Church of the Valley . You can connect with him on Twitter @PastorDaneJ.