Tag Archives: Westmont College

Come on Ref!

I am a sports fan.

In the last few weeks I have been to 1 high school basketball game, 1 high school soccer match, and 2 college basketball games. I play softball on Monday nights.  I volunteer as a soccer referee for our local AYSO.  In these contexts, especially the last one and most likely because of the last one, I am sensitive about fan abuse of the referee/umpire. It has unfortunately become acceptable for non-participants to behave as if they were participants.

Most recently I attended a college basketball game..  Here are some of  the comments directed at refs:

The generic “come on, ref!

This phrase occurs most often.  Screamed by young and old, male and female – it serves as a generalized complaint that things aren’t going well for my side.  I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what I want him to do – just do something!! Come on, REF!!!

The more specific:  “What game are you watching?”

This is the “clever” comment.  A little more sophisticated than “come on ref!”

“Call it both ways, REF!”

Here is maybe the most “poignant” invective as it acknowledges and addresses the essence of refereeing, that is, impartiality.  This one especially stings when heard by the ref, as it questions his very integrity.  It is especially effective as it immediately reigns the referee back to his mission and calling as a ref.  I encourage this. UGH.  This is the equivalent of the non-sequitur coaching encouragement “you got to want it!”  I cannot think of a more inane comment to make to a referee.

“REF, You suck!”

This stands for the ad-hominem bleck that eventually begins when a crowd gets out of hand and their team begins to fall behind to the “out of reach”stage.  At the soccer match, the woman sitting next to me actually screamed some invective about the referee being too old to ref the game.  As a soccer referee myself I felt that the ref had actually done a great job, and I think he was my age.  He had a strong gray head of hair that prompted the hate speech toward the elderly.

“Hey ref, I found your cell phone, you have 8 missed calls!”

This is the comedian ref heckler.  He thinks he is funny.  Typically he isn’t.

No comment here, just picture the fan mimicking the referee signal that wasn’t used by the referee, like the “traveling” hands twirl.

This the technician, the fan who knows the rules as well or better than the referee and feels the need to instruct him.  It is always helpful to have the technician in the stands because he teaches all of us the rules.

Last night’s game was particularly pathetic in my opinion.  It was a playoff game and unfortunately the gate was controlled by the conference and they charged the students $6 for the game which they normally get into for free. As a result there were very few students.  I usually sit with the “adults”, but in this case it was hard to tell.  Both sides, mine included, were merciless and vocal with regard to the referees.  Now, I can “understand” when the students get a little “boisterous” and it feels like it is part of the experience.  But when 50 and 60-somethings pop veins emotionally at a “game,” it is disconcerting.

Is there any place where the sport is pure?  I am slowly moving away from watching professional sports because so many things frost me about the professional milieu.  I love the college game context, especially the small college context.  I also love the high school context.  What I want to walk away with is the more noble parts of the game standing out.  Maybe I should just stop sitting with the parents and adults.

Recently at a soccer match I refereed, U19 AYSO, a player challenged me to meet him in the parking lot after the game because I issued him a red card.  Don’t think he knew that assaulting a referee at a youth sports event is a felony.  Kids learn this behavior because it has become in vogue to challenge referees for every single call.  I have been at soccer matches where fans, coaches and players were yelling at me when I made calls in their favor.  You read that right.  I made the right call, they still complained.  The complaining has become the mission.  It is part of the strategy:  we are running a 4-4-2 and yelling at the ref every time he blows the whistle and every time he doesn’t.

At our church league softball games we pray before AND after the games.  I have become so fed up with the whining at the umpire in this pseudo-humble spiritual context that when I get the opportunity to pray before the game, I pray this simple prayer:  “Help us submit to the umpire.” No “keep us safe,” “thanks for letting us play this kids game” nonsense – just a cut to the chase prayer that reflects what we really need help with.

Next time you go to a sporting match leave your animus toward umpires and referees at home, control yourselves and enjoy the game.

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Father Reflections on Departure, Adventure, Parenting

Well, it has begun. Caleb leaves for London today.  Joe leaves for Westmont on the 26th. Couldn’t be more excited for both of them. Curious about the future, and my emotional response to their leaving. A sort of final departure.

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When did it all happen.  It wasn’t long ago that I was standing in the third base coaching box yelling at Caleb or skimming with Joe at Oceanside.  They grow up, and that is a marvelous thing.  Here are some father reflections.

Enjoy your kids at every stage. Like everything else in life moments and events are fleeting.  What seemed once interminable  (soccer season for instance) I now miss.  I remember when we first had kids and I made this commitment to enjoy my kids at every stage.  It was all new with Tim (our first-born) and we were involved in a young marrieds Bible study.  Some of us had kids, some didn’t.  I can still see my friends face as he agreed with his wife’s words:

“I can’t wait till she is out of diapers.”

I had an ah-ha moment.  I was not yet tired of diapers, we were brand new and it was all an adventure.  But I remember thinking – “that isn’t a good attitude.”  Now trust me, I was glad to see dy-dee diapers go, but the stage of life was precious, and you should grab and enjoy the moment…even the diaper years and even more the junior high years.

Challenge your kids to do great things. Parent out of risk and not fear.  This is a great confidence booster.  In challenging your children to aspire you indirectly communicate that you believe in them and that they can accomplish big things.  When you discourage your children from risky behavior you indirectly communicate that they can’t handle life and big things, that they are not trustworthy or skilled, that they are incapable.  I tried to replace phrases like “be careful” with “have fun” or “remember to watch out for the little guy” or even “be smart.”  Remember at 4 and 5, riding a bike was risky.  How did we handle that?  We spent time training and teaching how to do that risky behavior.  Translate that to every stage in life and the activities that go along with those increased stages.

Say yes. I find that the default response that comes from fear and selfishness is the word “no”.  We use it too much. Can friends come over?  NO Can we go…? NO Can I stay up late? NO Can we light the cat’s tail on fire? NO Think of all the questions that your children ask you.  There are a ton, they ask for everything!  Say YES as much as you can.  If it isn’t unbiblical, immoral, unethical or illegal – find a way to say yes. This nurtures a sense of adventure in your kids.  This tells them that there are good things to do and to want to do.  This tells them that you want to help them to enjoy life.  When you say no repeatedly, your children become lethargic, lazy and unmotivated.  This chases them into adulthood.  Trust me, yes is cheaper than no in the long run, see two paragraphs down…

Don’t make your kids do stupid things to learn obvious lessons.    Sixteen year olds don’t need cars and they don’t need jobs (unless of course, like our friends the Buchanan’s, cars were part of the “yes of life” – they loved to drive, work, race and destroy cars. I am not picking on cars, just the obsession that owning a car at sixteen is a rite of passage for everyone).  Let them use your car, and just suck it up and buy the gas.  A sixteen year old doesn’t learn squat working at McDonalds to pay for insurance.  Please don’t let me see your kid swinging a sign for KayBee homes on the corner in the scorching sun on a Sunday afternoon for a measlee couple of bucks.  Most of you to whom this practice appeals have already taught your children the value of work and money through your everyday life at home.  Working at fast food for minimum wage is over-rated as a means of teaching a work ethic, and pales in comparison to the context of the home to teach these lessons.  There are so many healthy and wonderful opportunities available to children between 16-18 that to put them to work at Taco Bell sounds like torture, it should be illegal. Don’t sell your kids short.

Don’t punish your kids by restricting them from positive contexts and activities.  We have a great youth ministry at the church. Kids find it to be a safe, fun, challenging place.  They need that sort of healthy context.  Don’t threaten your kids with the loss of healthy activities  (like church or a good youth group, other healthy times with significant relationships) when they misbehave.  Instead, make your children accomplish something as a result of their misbehavior.  Give them an extra job around the house, or fine them.  Challenge them to a service project in exchange for time in prison (restriction).  The prison system doesn’t work in society, it doesn’t work for your teen.  Find a new and creative response to the mistakes and rebellion in your teen.  (By the way, much of the rebellion you are experiencing with your teen has to do with the “NO” philosophy that you thought was such a good idea to begin with.  Now that they are old enough, they are ignoring your NO and doing what they want, ouch).

Celebrate your children, especially when they grow up.  Parenting is about training and releasing.  We are preparing our kids to venture out into the wild wild world and to enjoy it.  I want my kids to experience the best that life has to offer – so I am excited that as Caleb begins his Junior year at Westmont College he doesn’t go to Santa Barbara but leaves for England Semester today for four months,  an off-campus program with 25 other Westmont students and two professors (Dr. Paul Delaney and  Dr. Jody Allen Randolph).

I am excited that Joe registered for his first semester at Westmont and and that his Facebook status today reads:

Tremper Longman III for Old Testament!!! oh yeah baby!!!”

I am anxious to meet his football playing roommate from Idaho and hope they get along.  We will tromp him up to Santa Barbara on the 25th to experience Parent’s Orientation for the fourth time.

Believe me, I am nervous at the same time. The same dad jitters I experienced when they were pitching and hitting magnified.  I want them to do well, meet good people, be safe, have fun, avoid pain.  We push fear aside, smile and bless them on their way.

God bless you boys.

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I Love Mexicans

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

This marvelous prayer is from Ephesians 3:13-21.

I never understood how enlightened Christians could entertain racism, latently or blatantly.  In Southern California, racism is often directed towards Mexicans.  I love Mexicans.  I abhor racism.  It is completely un-Christian. Here is what the passage from Ephesians tells us:

Every family in heaven and earth derives its name from the Father

Is there a preferred nation to God?  The answer to that question is no.  This may anger dispensationalists, but there is no longer an elect nation.  This may anger patriots, but God loves Mexico as much as He loves the USA.  Much of the emphasis on the word “all” in the New Testament is not an emphasis on individual “all”, but corporate “all”; all with reference to all the nations as opposed to one elect nation.

And they sang a new song, saying, Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

By Your Blood you ransomed people from every….


What a great portrait of the fullness of the church.  The picture in heaven includes Mexicans.  Some of them are illegals.  Jesus died for the nations, our heart must love the nations because Jesus had a focus and purpose in his death and life and kingdom which CENTERED on the nations.

I love Mexicans, maybe more than Canadians.  They are our neighbors, we view them as the modern American equivalent of the Samaritans.  Many of you need to repent.

Here is a great interview with President Vicente Fox at Westmont College.

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Levi to Tanzania

There goes Levi down the walkway at LAX.  This photo was taken by Kristin because when your kids grow up their girlfriends drive them to the airport instead of you.  At least I didn’t have to get up at 4 and drive through LA traffic in the rain to get him there, thanks Kristin.

Brings back memories of my trip to Israel my senior year at Westmont.  Levi is a junior at Westmont and is spending this Spring Semester abroad in Tanzania with a group of students from the Christian College Consortium.  Most of the students accompanying him are from Houghton College.

His flight yesterday started at LAX in the morning, he flew to Minneapolis then Amsterdam and finally to Dar Es Salaam, hopefully arriving there at around noon today.

The joys of parenting…

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