Officials: Accountability & Consistency
There is something about the 4th quarter of a basketball game that drums up all sorts of feelings.
- There is excitement at the challenge seeing a lead shrink or grow.
- There is stress to get back in the game or to keep it in your favor.
- There is urgency knowing each second is closer to the final buzzer.
- There is pride from the extra effort and focus required.
- There is hope that your team will do enough to achieve the win.
The 4th quarter also unlocks new levels of being for everyone in the gym.
- The crowd cheers a little louder and groans a little deeper as each play moves toward the finish.
- Officials sharpen their focus as each play, and each call, carries extra weight.
- Coaches find their groove as the previous 3 quarters have revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent.
- Players enter “flow” as their mind, body, team, and the game all become one.
The impact of a basketball official can’t be understated. With the vital role of administering and enforcing the rules of the game, officials carry a heavy weight of responsibility within the flow of a basketball contest.
To be a basketball referee requires a keen knowledge and feel of the game. Further, being an official requires a superior level of focus to be able to drown out all distractions (screaming coaches, players and spectators), and stay locked in on each play.
Debbie Williamson, NRB Alumni from 1984 & ‘85, is a former collegiate official and is now a basketball officials trainer and scheduler. Her resume boasts of teaching and leading officials in numerous NCAA Division 1 conferences.
In a recent interview on the subject of the 4th Quarter, Debbie said, “My thing regarding officials is if it’s not a foul in the 1st (quarter), why is it a foul in the 4th (quarter)? It’s either illegal or it’s not.
And so, when we look at the fourth quarter, why would it be, and why should it be, any different than what the first quarter is?”
She went on to add, “I get that the fourth quarter and the end is terminal, and we can’t go back. And such is life.
But if anything, that should drive us to be more consistent in the first through the third so that when we get to the fourth and we get to the end, it’s not different…
Why are we trying to make up for lost time when we could be more diligent in the first or the third?
She continued by saying, “what I always tell my officials is ‘all the rules all the time’, regardless of time or score. Don’t guess. See it. Call it.”
When we enter a 4th quarter in life (the ending of a particular season or event), it is important to have consistent people who can help hold us accountable in order to finish well.
Debbie highlighted the need for creating consistent good habits, “what everybody begs of officials is consistency, and I don’t think God expects any less of us in our walk,” she said. “Just walk today. Just walk with your whole heart.”
Debbie continued, “…the other piece to that is that we have to turn our whole heart.
To act like it’s not different in the fourth quarter of life or on the floor is maybe a bit naive.
But in the end, if we have had a good foundation of doing things right from the tip, in obedience to what God’s called us to do, then the fourth quarter and overtime is just an overflow of what we have been living and breathing and walking in the whole time.”
Whether it is someone in a trusted position of authority within your family, friends, at work, or even in society (i.e. the government) – we all need a person who shares their wisdom to keep us consistently focused.
The Bible is filled with wisdom and ways to help us stay focused. In fact there is an entire group of books called the “wisdom books”; Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job.
Proverbs 4:25-27 encourages: “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
The need for guidance and wisdom becomes especially important when we begin to feel pressure in our lives – just like in the 4th quarter of a basketball game.
It is in these times we can lean on the trusted “officials” in our lives to keep us consistent and stay focused on the right things.
When you feel stress and pressure, or a season of life is in its 4th quarter – do you have someone you can rely on to help keep you focused?
Our hope for you is that you have (or will find) someone who will help direct your focus to Jesus. Jesus is our ultimate trusted “official” who has nothing but good in mind for us.
Just as He told his disciples in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Consider joining the “4th Quarter Sprint” fundraising campaign to support the international basketball ministry of News Release Basketball.