December 18, 2011

Note to Self: Do the Right Thing

This afternoon we had a terrible referee, mostly because we didn't have a real one, therefore, "Hey, you, here's a whistle," happened.

During the third set, one of my girls did a full body skim of a serve that was going out of bounds and the very official referee just called it out - much to the dismay of the other team and coach. It was so painfully obvious, so I just told the referee that we had indeed touched it, and the point was for the other team.

I thought nothing of this small act; this team is competing at a small high school level, the game was not close, and the referee had no clue what was happening. Just tell the truth and move on.

After the match, I was talking with one of my players who speaks English, and there was an old man hovering over our conversation. I thought he was just intrigued by our choice of language, and I was making face hints to my player that said, "Why is that man still standing there?!"

Eventually, we had a pause in our talk, and the man asked if I was English (5th time in two weeks). After he heard I was American, he said, "Congratulations." I was hoping it had to do with my feeble abilities in speaking French, but no, he was pleased to have seen that I had told the truth during the volleyball match because it was so unusual for someone to be honest during competition.

In instances similar to this, I have seen people thanked for honesty - but congratulated? This was new to me.

All this to say: we never know who is watching or who is being impacted by what we say or do. They won't usually tell you, but you are either influencing for the positive or the negative. I used to think there was a neutral; if you did nothing, you weren't helping either side. BUT that is terribly false; "neutral" is always for the negative because it does nothing for the positive.

Alas, do not be neutral! Neutrality is the same as apathy, the same as the kid who stands by while the bully enacts his prowess onto the weaker child. Being the positive is not always easy; it usually takes a surge of courage and being okay with letting other people think differently about you. I am not always any one of these types of people, but I know the world would be a better place if we all tried to have more courage to do the right thing.

Today was a small thing that had little bearing on anything in particular. But your day will have small things, too, and those small things will add up to bigger things.

Have the courage to stand out and make those things count today!