We played the church family softball game this afternoon, and for the fUmpirst time in my 56 years, I opted not to play.  That was a momentous decision for me, because I had to swallow some pride.

Even though I work hard to stay in shape to the point that I know I can confidently outrun most men my age in either a sprint or distance, in the duress of competition, men my age are prone to wrench, sprain, strain, hyperextend, stretch, pull, tear, mutilate, exacerbate, and even break bones, muscles, nerves, and joints that simply aren’t made for the same kind of exertion that they may have withstood 20 or 30 years ago.

While I may be too old to play, I’m certainly not too old to preserve what’s left of these increasingly-venerable bones!  So I considered discretion the better part of athletic glory and volunteered to officiate.

I’m happy with that decision.  I was  part of the game, I only blew one call that didn’t do any harm, and I enjoyed the fellowship with both teams in a fashion that wouldn’t have happened had I been in the dugout with one team or the other.

And there was no controversy!  That probably owes more to the gracious hearts of my friends and loved ones than to my expertise as an umpire, and it also underscores the rich unity and fellowship we enjoy as a church family.

That’s pretty good stuff.