This deacon candidate is due to be ordained later this year. And he’s found that some of the skills he’s developed in sports could be useful in ministry. From Arkansas Catholic:
The similarities between John Hall III’s roles as an aspiring deacon and a basketball referee may not be immediately apparent to the layperson, but the 52-year-old Hall begs to differ. He said he finds a lot of similarities between heaven and hardwood.
“I am called to be a peacemaker,” he said. “It’s often difficult to do that, but it is my job as a referee and my calling as a Christian to continue to be that peacemaker and fairly implement the rules of the game.”
Hall’s career in stripes has included refereeing in the Little Rock Parochial League, as well as high school and college basketball. He has also officiated soccer and has recently begun on a football officiating crew as well.
He got his first taste of a ref’s whistle while at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana, which he attended after graduating Little Rock’s Catholic High in 1977. While no big shakes as a high school athlete, he played basketball, soccer and tennis in college and at the direction of a coach, started refereeing…
…Wherever Hall officiates, his faith follows. He’s often the only Catholic on the officiating crew and so he goes about his business in a manner that speaks to his beliefs. If his fellow officials are comfortable with it, he will lead them in a pre-game prayer and if they are not, he says it for himself. Coolness in the face of irate fans or emotional coaches, he said, are the best training a future deacon can get.
“A referee is nothing but a communicator,” he said. “Learning to communicate with people who are in an emotional situation can be very difficult, but I can see situations where as a deacon I will be dealing with people who are in highly emotional situations as well. It’s good training on and off the court.”