Line judge wanted


Caveat to the non sports-minded: In a volleyball game, there are two referrees and two line judges. The sole purpose of the line judges is to stand at opposite corners of the court and judge whether balls fall in or out of bounds.

The sermon today was about sports, competition, etc. The second element of it was about abdicatin of responsibility. Where people used to say "no harm, no foul," meaning that even if there was technically a foul, if it didn't harm the flow of play, it was not worth stopping for, they could now say "no foul, no harm." No foul, no harm. That would mean that unless a foul was called, i.e. unless you got CAUGHT breaking the rules, no harm was done. You see this in football, where linemen are taught to hold without getting called on it, for example.

The minister was making a point about how the competitive nature of sports leads us to shrug off personal responsibility for following the rules. We do not call fouls on ourselves. If you step out of bounds making a touchdown and nobody notices, you sure as hell don't argue with them. If a mistake is made, then, it is the responsibility of the official, for not seeing it, rather than the player for doing it.

The point was that putting what is right and what is wrong in someone else's hands allows us to break rules without culpability. Which got me to thinking, what I need in my life isn't a referree, it's a line judge. I don't want someone else to make the calls--I am rather fond of being in charge--but I want someone else to stand at the corners and tell me when something is in bounds and when it is out of bounds. Then when someone argues with a call I've made, I can simply point to the line judge. She did it.
The expert opinion given to me was that was out, so I called it out. It's like the president blaming a bad war on the CIA.

But I don't get a line judge. I have to figure out for myself if the balls I am lobbing back and forth are landing within bounds or not. And I just can't see the whole court, so there's a lot of guesswork involved. Sometimes, I make the wrong call. Often, even. And ultimately, it's nobody's responsibility but mine.

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April 2012

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