Recently I had a new experience. I went to a high school football game to cheer on a SportsLeader team and I realized that I personally knew one of the officials - the head ref for the game. This had never happened to me before. Never before did I go to a game and actually have prior personal experience with a ref.
The man in question is not a close friend but he does go to my church and I see him almost every week.
I admit that I can get emotional watching a game, maybe some of you can relate (smile), but I truly felt different at the start of the game, knowing that I was going to see that man in 2 days at church.
During the game, as far as I could personally tell, there was only one somewhat questionable call (I could not tell whether the call was correct or not) but even then I think I usually would have reacted stronger in that moment - but since I knew the ref - I was more "forgiving" ... I was more respectful in my thoughts, etc.
It gave me a moment of pause ... "If I knew all the refs ... my reactions would be different ..."
We need to remember that refs are husbands, dads, friends, etc just like us.
Maybe next time ask yourself ... "If the ref was a personal friend - how would I react?"