The Choice is Yours

The Choice Is Yours…

Many of you know that for the past 21 seasons I have officiated high school basketball in the Bay Area of California. It is a passion of pure love for me. I am proud to have been selected in 2002 and 2009 to work one of the State Finals games, which is the highest achievement for any official and the goal of all of us who wear the black and white shirt.

Back around my fifth season, I attended a playoff game to support the officials working that night, and later went with the crew and other officials to a local establishment to have a bite to eat, drink a beer and share that games highlights. Believe me our perspective of a game is quite different from that of players, coaches and fans.

This night, while seated next to an official who had worked a couple of championship games and is well respected among our peers…I asked him the question; what do I need to do to be a state championship game official. He thought for a moment, then said something to me that I never forgot; “Have you ever seen a state championship official with a beard?”

Now you might wonder why this was so profound. At the time, I sported a very neatly trimmed and well-maintained beard. Not the kind where remnants of today’s lunch was visible. I actually took great pride in my beard…being a guy from the Midwest; I annually grew a beard in winter to keep the face a bit warmer from the chilly winds of The Hawk.

So here I am now having to make a choice between two things I cherish. Yet, to get the place that I now know I want to achieve, I will have to give up a thing that I have embodied, even been identified with for years, in order to be happy. The rest, as it is said, is history.

How about you? What might you need to choose to leave behind in order to have what you say you want today? Bad eating habits from your childhood? Negative self-image from a failed relationship/marriage? Laziness? Procrastination? Poverty mentality? Take an honest inventory of what is keeping you from the life that you envision for yourself, and begin today to let go of the things that are keeping you from it.

I had the choice to make…and it became a fun thing to grow my beard AFTER basketball season, instead of during. My daughter, Meisha, lovingly calls it my Spring beard.

Holding onto the past has it’s place, but not if it holds you hostage. The Choice is Yours.


3 thoughts on “The Choice is Yours”

  1. So true Mark, as I reflect on thoughts today which could prevent me from reaching tomorrows dreams, or should I more accurately say ‘today’s dreams.’ Hmmm…. I’ve got to get rid of negative thoughts, (fears) today, right now! I won’t live in the past anymore. Thanks again for your great insight!!! See you on the other side!

  2. Mark, I absolutely love this post! I love how you set up the story; I stayed with you from the beginning to the end, despite the fact that I had no idea where you were leading me…ha! The message is simple, yet profound. How badly you want something — even if it’s just growth — depends on the choices you make and what you are willing to sacrifice.

    I also thought about time and timing when I read the quote, “Have you ever seen a state championship official with a beard?” it meant more to me than what I’m sure your colleague intended. While he probably did not mean to infer that you had waited too long to seek such a lofty goal, that quote spoke to me about time. Yesterday is a cashed check, tomorrow is a promissory note (that’s still being negotiated if you think about it); so today, right now, is IT (paraphrasing someone else’s quote.)

    If you want to see change in your life, you have to make some choices and you should start making those choices NOW.

    Thanks for sharing this great post!! God bless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *