Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Love for the Officials [Mondays with Gus]

I'm writing this article to make up for all the times I've blamed officials for all that is wrong in the world of sports (and the world at large). Sure, officials make their share of mistakes. They have taken over games instead of letting the teams try to outplay each other. I understand all of this. But, it's about time someone stood up for them. We know the NFL and the players union only care about themselves, and this is a small token of my appreciation for some of the victims of this whole lockout situation.

The best analogy that I can use for officials is to say they are the customer service representative of the sports world. “No, you can't do that. It's not allowed with your plan. I understand that you're angry, but I didn't write the rules. In fact, I don't do anything other than read the rules to you that were given when you purchased our service/product.” This is an awful situation to be in for any human being. Working with people that hate you is awful. It's almost as bad as being a dentist.

So, to make up for this constant hatred toward officials, every now and again I like to send some love via e-mail. If you remember a few years back, there was an extremely controversial play in the NFL where the wrong call was made by Ed Hochuli. I have always been a huge fan of Ed, because he's a great official. But this time, he screwed up big time. We all do every once in a while (or daily, depending on the person), and I felt like he was being nailed by the fans, players, and the media. He's human, so I decided to cheer him up. Here's the e-mail string:

Gus wrote:

Mr. Hochuli,

My name is Gus Rafeedie and I had a chance to see the play that most people are talking about this past weekend. Let me start by saying that no man should be judged solely on his worst moment in his career. I hate what the media is doing to you and how some fans are responding. You deserve more support.

I think you're the best official I can remember seeing in any sport at any level. I may not be the most wordly sports fan alive, but my statement still stands. I'm a Browns fan and God only knows how few of us out there would tell an official that they're great at what they do.

I look forward to seeing you officiate the Browns in the super bowl one day.

Thanks for being a great official.


P.S. I was hoping your e-mail address would be something like sunsout@gunsout.com, but this is good too.

P.P.S. I'm sorry if I wasted company time!

Ed wrote:

Thanks for the chuckle on the email address, Gus. I needed it. And thank you for the supportive email. Very much appreciated.


I meant everything I said in the that e-mail. Not only is the guy a great official, but he sets a great example for everyone involved by being ripped enough to uproot a tree with his bare hands. He's not some obese ref telling the world's best athlete what they did wrong.

So, to all the officials out there who are yelled at, insulted, sworn to hell, and blamed for everyone else's life problems; I'm sorry for everything I've done to you, and you deserve better. And, if Ed Hochuli is actually reading this, thanks again for responding and showing us all that you're actually a human being that appreciates a little kindness.

-Gus Rafeedie

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