I learned a lot from my time as a basketball referee. It taught me to think quickly under pressure and how to de-escalate disagreement on the fly. Humility and confidence were necessary, and I learned those traits are more interconnected than we give them credit.
I remember before one game, we were talking about the coaches and I distinctly remember my partner sharing something with me about one of the coaches. He said, “The coach is really quiet, but if he says something, listen because it is probably something you missed.” He was right.
Some coaches would talk or yell at the referees the entire game, and for your sanity, you would learn to tune them out. You never knew what was important because it seemed like EVERYTHING was important. But this one coach, he would pick and choose when he would share some feedback or thoughts on a missed or ruined call. You listened and took it to heart and always grew.
This is something I think about a lot. Often, the people who get the attention are those that yell the loudest and most often, but we should pay attention to those that pick and choose their spots. If they find a moment to speak up, they usually have something from which we can learn.
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