Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Honored ...

To be honored is a pretty cool thing, to be honored by your peers is impressive, to be honored by those you love is a great testimony and to be honored by your creator is an eternal blessing.

Last week I had the privilege to attend a couple of events in which one of my uncles was honored by his peers, and those who loved him were a part of it as well. My uncle was a farmer during his working years and he was also a high school basketball referee. He did well at nearly everything he did in life, at least that is my perception. How did as a referee is not perception, it is fact. He was great. Last week he was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. How impressive is that?

He officiated for 32 years and then was an evaluator of officials for 15-20 years. He was good, the biggest schools and biggest rivalries wanted him. He was chosen to officiate the State Championship game 3 times. That was when Indiana was still in one class basketball, he officiated in 3 other final fours. He enjoyed what he did and never forgot that it was about the athletes not the officials. He never called attention to himself, he never showboated and he never showed up any player or coach. He was very good and he was recognized and honored last week. I vividly remember when he officiated one of my high school games. We were playing a cross town rival, before you react to the whole family thing and how could he objective as my uncle you need to know a couple of things. I didn't play that much and my uncle never showed favoritism. Toward the end of the game, which we lost by double digits, I took a shot that I missed and we fouled the other team on the rebound. As he ran down the court to award the free throw my uncle came by me and said "I was rooting for you on that shot". It might be the closest he ever came to favoritism in his career. A quote that my aunt shared is a great word picture of my uncle's attitude. "Throughout my career I continued to officiate for the big schools and the little schools. There was no difference in how those young athletes wanted to win a game. I always gave my best to the game regardless of the size of the schools represented."

I was so proud to be a part of the festivities, to pay tribute to my uncle and to represent my family at the event. The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame is a really big deal. High School basketball is a really big deal in Indiana. I grew up with the lottery system for people to even get a ticket to the state tournament games. People also scalped tickets to these games. I attended, played in and coached games that were standing room only. The largest crowd I ever played in front of was over 8,000. So you see this honor for my uncle is a big deal.

My uncle was also honored by those who loved him. He was honored during his lifetime often, he was honored by a full table at the banquet last week, he was honored by the ads taken by family to celebrate his induction and he is honored by our memories of him. He was a practical joker and quite a story teller. I loved to listen to his stories, except when they were about me (even then I kind of enjoyed them). He smiled a lot and laughed a lot. His wife of so many years still beams today at the thought of him, though she misses him terribly. He also loved his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has been honored by his creator with the greatest honor. He has heard "Well done". My uncle would tell you that honor from his Lord was the greatest, followed closely by those who loved him and then the Hall of Fame. You see he is already in the greatest hall of fame.

What honor are you seeking?


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