REFEREE – Preface
There are moments in life when we encounter individuals who have a keen sense and appreciation for following the rules and keeping as many persons as possible in the game, both sports and life. On the court, following the rules was Cliff’s unmistakable ethical standard. He enjoyed watching athletes achieve their individual best and contest for the best player on the court. He encouraged this competition and challenged many to go beyond any perceived physical limitations. His quick wit challenged some of the greatest players in the game like Michael Jordan, who could only say, “Good call Ref…” While many argued and often challenged his calls, many later in life would just laugh or smile and simply nod their appreciation for his bulldog tenacity on the court.
Clearly, his own athletic prowess created the fodder for his on-court insistence that you put it all on the court, no excuses, and let your gamesmanship speak for itself. Clearly, his hunger for baseball was evident at a very young age, both at Lane Tech and Lewis University. In fact, there are many that would agree that had racism not been a factor during scouting observations, his legacy would be counted among those of many great stars. Even while playing basketball as a second sport at Lewis University, he encountered this relentless denial of his obvious athletic talent and again, was placed in a position of incredulous inferiority.
Maybe, it was these experiences that led Cliff to encourage ballers to be the best they could be on and off the court. His leadership in national organizations such as the National Sales Network again was evidence of his leadership and the competitive nature to be the best at what you do.
As a son, husband, father and grandfather, Cliff has weathered the emotional storms of life and continued his journey with unshakeable passion and faith. He recently suffered a near mortal stroke, and once again, rose beyond adversity, to walk independently and speak fluently with remarkable wit and constant humor. Even during his most depressing days and moments, Cliff has found a way to encourage and uplift others with insights achieved through his hard knocks in life.
This referee knows how to call the game, both on and off the court.
This book will provide the reader with insights from these experiences that clearly contributed to many great basketball players becoming the greatest among their contemporaries. It will provide an opportunity for many to relive their passion for the game and tell stories of their greatness or at least how they perceived it to be. For younger readers, it will provide for them the opportunity to see what the Ref sees and discipline their game and possibly unrealized potential.
Clearly, for all readers this becomes in a way, a romance novel. For the love of the game and for the love of life. The Referee made the right call!
Donald Dew, Chief Executive Officer, Habilitative Systems Inc.