This I Believe

Jessica Burke - Wilmington, Massachusetts
Entered on December 13, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in being tolerant of other’s faults. I believe that we should not condemn others for their mistakes, but rather be understanding of their situation.

I began playing soccer when I was in kindergarten, and continue to play now as a sophomore in high school. Along with my age rose the level of play and competition. Coaches, parents and players began to take the game very seriously, and the referees were constantly the victims of verbal abuse and torment. Oblivious to the personal damage I was causing the referees, I began to join into the harassment. I found myself making comments every once in a while, and although my comments were not nearly as vicious as others, I now know that they could very easily have caused emotional stress to the referees.

In seventh grade, hoping to make some extra money, I myself became a travel referee. Only assigned to third and fourth grade teams, I thought the job would be simple and trouble-free. I had done all of my training, and along with my eight years of soccer experience I thought I would be more than prepared for the job. I was quite nervous for my first game, but I still expected the experience to be an overall positive one. I got to the field an hour before the game started, and was all ready to get started. I got through the first 3 minutes with ease, but the rest of the game was a horrible affair. I began to hear rude comments from the parents and coaches that made me feel terrible. No matter how hard I tried to make the right call someone was always angry with me.

I found myself looking at my watch every thirty seconds, hoping that miraculously the game would be over. It seemed endless. When the game finally finished, I rushed off the field to find my mom and quickly get home. I never wanted to ref another game again, but my mom said that I had to finish the season. Some games were worse than others, but not a game went by that I didn’t hear a scornful comment directed towards me. I felt like a failure. I tried my best each game, but it didn’t seem to matter; I was fighting a losing battle. Once the season was over, I never refereed again.

As I continue to play soccer, I stop myself from yelling back at my referees, and as I continue to live life, I try to accept other’s mistakes. I believe that mistakes are a part of life, and to be considerate of others no matter how many flaws they seem to have. A small, rude comment may not seem harmful, but you don’t know how many times a person has heard it before, and how much it truly hurts them.