Integrity - Timeout
The Near Buzzer Beater
As a high school coach I did all I could to help my boys win their games. A dramatic incident following a game in which I officiated as a referee changed my perspective on victories and defeats.
I was refereeing a league championship basketball game in New Rochelle, New York, between New Rochelle and Yonkers High. New Rochelle was coached by Dan O’Brien and Yonkers High was coached by Les Beck. The gym was crowded to capacity and the volume of noise made it impossible to hear. The game was well played and closely contested [to the final seconds of the game, where Yonkers lead by 1 point. New Rochelle took a final shot with time winding down.] The ball rolled tantalizingly around the rim and off. New Rochelle, the home team, recovered the ball and tapped it in for what looked like a victory. The commotion was deafening. I glanced at the clock and saw that the game was over. I checked with the other official but he could not help me. Still seeking help in this bedlam I approached the timekeeper, a young man of 17 or so. He said, “Mr. Corvino the buzzer went off as the ball rolled off the rim before the final tap in was made.”
I was in the unbelievable position of having to tell Coach O’Brien the sad news. “Dan,” I said, “time ran out before the final basket was tapped in. Yonkers won the game.” His face clouded over. The young timekeeper came up. He said, “I’m sorry, DAD. The time ran out before the final basket.” Suddenly, like the sun coming out from behind a cloud Coach O’Brien’s face lit up. He said, “That’s okay, Joe. You did what you had to do. I’m proud of you.” Turning to me, he said, “Al… I want you to meet my son, Joe.” The two of them walked off the court together the coach’s arm around the son’s shoulder.
What were the options Joe (the timekeeper) had when approached by the official?
Is it doing the right thing always easy?
What are some of the negatives of doing the right thing? What do you gain by doing the right thing?