“If you try to do your best there is no failure.” ~ Mike Farrell
Autumn has arrived in Kansas.
The earth is breathing a little easier with the return of cooler temperatures. The trees are beginning to show signs of change, too, as orange and red hues can be spotted among the green.
My part of the world has survived one of the hottest summers, and worse droughts, on record. While more rain is needed to end the drought, folks here feel the change in the air, and the change is welcomed.
Another welcome change is the return of football. There’s something about watching a football game on an autumn Sunday afternoon with a homemade stew or soup cooking on the stove. Smelling the food simmer is incredibly comforting to me.
This year’s football season, however, isn’t as comforting. The National Football League (NFL) Referees Association is in a labor dispute with the NFL. With no referees to officiate the games, the NFL is using replacement referees.
The replacements do have experience, just not at the professional level. So after three weeks of play, the controversy is boiling. Most coaches, players and fans think the replacements are botching the job by missing obvious calls, or by making the wrong calls; or both.
I’ve seen coaches aggressively chase down referees to complain. Fans (even the fans here in Kansas City) are booing when we think a call – a call that would have benefited our Chiefs – went the other way.
The replacement referees are doing their best. Unfortunately, some fans think their best isn’t good enough.
A few missed calls, too
I agree that some of the referees’ calls are wrong, but I know this: I make a few wrong calls every day. Maybe you do, too. Between being a husband, a father, and just being human, I get something wrong every day. I’m just glad that I don’t have 70,000 fans or a large television audience watching me.
We are often put into situations that are challenging, seemingly impossible and are sometimes overwhelming. When this happens, we have a choice: we can give up and stop trying or we can do our best.
This football season I’ve seen well-meaning people work hard to get it right. Their missed calls are a reminder that perfection isn’t possible and our value isn’t determined by what we get right or wrong – our value is determined by how hard we try.
Sometimes the simple path to doing your best begins with remembering that you don’t have to get every call right; you just have to be committed to doing your best and then hope others will see the value in your effort.
Autumn is here. The world is changing. Maybe we can begin changing a little with it. Doing our best is all that is required. That, I think, is something to cheer about.
Referee Update: Since writing this post and then publishing it today (September 27), the referees and the league have reached an agreement. The regular refs will officiate tonight’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens.
I’m sure the calls will be more accurate, the fans happier and the coaches less disgruntled. I’m also sure that even with the labor dispute over, the regular referees may not be perfect either, but at least they will be doing their best.
What is A Simple Path?
This post is in A Simple Path, a twice-weekly series of short pieces inspired by my own life experiences. Each post is a simple path to experiencing something wonderful: maybe seeing life from a different perspective, or celebrating its beauty. Click here to read all posts in the series.