Respect and Gratitude

By Larry Huey, NTX State Director of Referee Instruction

In a previous edition of The Pitch, our esteemed State Referee Chairman made it perfectly clear that respect is a two-way street. In society today where civility seems to be a lost art, a public display of respect and gratitude really grabs your attention.

A few weeks ago, I returned to help out my home association and was overwhelmed at the reception. It wasn’t for me, because no one knew I was coming that weekend. Dotting the landscape of the beautiful complex were at least two large signs planted next to each of the 12 fields at Colleyville’s Pleasant Run Park. Each sign bore the same message:

“Have you thanked a ref today?”
Without our fantastic referees we couldn’t play.
So please, let them know they’re appreciated.
Thank you.

“Wow,” I thought, “What a great display.” While the signs were unexpected, it was the attitude around the complex that really grabbed my attention:

“Thank you, Ref.” … “We appreciate what you’re doing.” … “Yeah, Ref.”

These were just some of the expressions that day that left me with a corresponding feeling of gratitude for the volunteer coaches, players and parents with whom I enjoyed the day. That evening, I was moved to express my thoughts to the President of the Colleyville Soccer Association in an e-mail:

Patrick,

I've been associated with Colleyville Soccer as a parent, Board Member/VP Referees and "just a referee" since 1995. While I've always felt appreciated, the signs this weekend were a special and welcomed "Thanks." It is an honor to call Colleyville Soccer my home Association.

In our NTX clinics and meetings, we constantly emphasize the professionalism we expect of our referees.  The young referees we train never cease to impress me with their desire and effort to do the kind of job that our players, coaches and spectators deserve.

The adult referee leadership in Colleyville with Tom Brill, Matt Brendle and David Ritchie is first-class.

I appreciate the respect you and the CSA Board have shown to and for our referees.

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