For those of you who have watched or participated in an organized athletic competition of any kind at any level, you most likely have thoughts and stories to share about the umpires, referees, officials, or judges – the people who were there to make sure the rules of the sport were adhered to. Regardless of how sports officials have been viewed by players, coaches, and spectators throughout the years, they are game changers. And I have seen that more than ever before at our last few Special Olympics competitions.
Skill, knowledge, and hard work are all a part of being a good official , but the thing that has made the greatest difference in our Games has had everything to do with the Heart. As they take time to explain the calls, distribute high fives when high fives are deserving, and work to make our Special Olympics athletes better – they demonstrate how their hearts are in it for all the right reasons.
These officials and their respect for the game as well as their respect for those participating in it are a good reminder that what makes the difference in sport is the same thing that makes the difference in everything we do.