Monday, January 9, 2012

My Embarrassing Moment

For those of you on PaperWatch 2012 I have two bookbags full of paper still left to go through in my first corner. Which is good news because that means I've gone through five bags of paper already. So I'm feeling pretty good about that.

On Saturday, I was reffing a girls' basketball game. The reffing staff was short-handed, so I was doing this game on my own. The first half started well and things were really moving, but the white team started doing some body slam fouls (you know, they're straight up and down and using their bodies to push people) and some three second in the key violations. So I called them. The other team was less experienced and while they didn't do many fouls (mostly because they hardly touched the ball and the other team was really fast) I called the ones I saw.

Unfortunately, that wasn't good enough for one spectator who was sitting under the blue team's basket. Every time we came down the court she would start with the comments, "why aren't you calling three in the key on the blue team?" and "why aren't you calling that foul?" or "hey, is the blue team your favorite?" and on and on. I tried to ignore it, but as the game wore on, it was annoying me that she questioned my fairness and integrity. (I know, I know, it's part of the reffing gig, but still!)

The second half started and as I ran down the court, I gave her a good look. Older woman, fit-looking, arms crossed, watching me intently. She also had another lady sitting next to her. Probably moral support or something, since they looked close. Sure enough, the first time down the court, the older lady had some more comments on my reffing and kept it up the entire game. I finished the game more than annoyed with her and went over to the scorer's table to finish up, glad it was over, and the lady who'd been sitting next to my tormentor came up to me.

I have to admit, my expression was sour. I knew she was probably going to be just like her friend and complain about my reffing. I folded my arms and steeled myself for what was going to come out of her mouth.

And she looked up at me and said, "Aren't you Julie Bellon? You came to our book club two years ago. I love all your books!"

Honestly, I think I just opened and closed my mouth because I was so surprised. And sorry that I'd been so presumptuous and given her my annoyed stare. I did smile and say that I was Julie Bellon (okay, it was a little tempting to say that is my twin sister or something, but I owned it.) She went on to gush about the books of mine that she'd read and we walked out together. (Her friend left quickly after the game. Go figure.)

So the moral to my embarrassing experience is, "don't assume anything." Or "whate'er thou art, act well thy part," or "even mean people have great friends who like your books," or something like that. You never know who's watching and who knows you. I know I'm going to be better next time and at least greet people with a smile. Maybe I can add that to my new year goals.

Have you ever had an experience like that? Or do those sorts of things just happen to me?


Janice Sperry said...

I dislike mean people. Sorry you had to go through that - especially if the game wouldn't have gone on if you weren't there to ref it. Some people never look at the big picture.

I've been misinterpreted as being mean because I'm pretty straight forward with my critiques and opinions. But I always find positive things to say. If I can't find something I like, I don't critique. I think a mean critique is saying you loved something that needed serious improvement.

Debra Erfert said...

I think I'd shrivel and die if someone thought I was mean. I'm an introvert--very shy. I habitually avoid situations you found yourself in. I wonder if I'd even be brave enough to tell that woman to shut up and leave you alone fearing she'd turn her temper on me? People who put themselves out there in places of authority, like you do, get ridiculed. My husband took the same kind of abuse as a cop for 26 years. Of course, he could arrest the idiot if it got out of hand. (disorderly conduct) But you? You handled yourself with grace by not yelling back. I'm proud of you, Julie.

Charlie Moore said...

The last person to recognize me said, "Don't you owe me some money?" Of course, that was my brother and yes, I do.

Sarah Pearson said...

Fair play to you Julie for managing to hold your temper. You're only human, who wouldn't be feeling a little sour after that experience?

I know this wasn't what the post was about, but how awesome is it that someone - who may have suspected you weren't going to be too thrilled to see her - recognised you from two years ago. That's some good impression you must have made :-)

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Janice, I get told I'm intimidating because I'm a bit forward with my opinions sometimes as well. But, like you, with critiques I always find something positive to say.

Debra, I can totally see that about you. Thank you for being so sweet to me!

Charlie, haha! I hope you paid him back. :)

Sarah, thanks! And you know, I hadn't even thought about the fact that she'd recognized me two years later. That made me feel good, in the fact that, as you pointed out, it must have been a good impression! :)