Tossing in the Red Flag

By Rev. Lynn Cairns

By the time you read this, Super Bowl LIV will be history and San Francisco or Kansas City will be flying high.  I can hardly believe the changes that have occurred in the sport in my lifetime.  For an interesting look at the past, Google “pictures of President Gerald Ford in a football uniform.”  How did they survive in those helmets, which were mostly leather material, and with no face masks for protection?  However, uniforms are not the only changes.  Many new rules have been introduced to protect the players, and particularly quarterbacks, from aggressive hits from opponents.

Most interesting to me are the new uses of technology to review plays and calls by the referees.  All scoring plays can be reviewed.  Just because the referee blows the whistle and makes a call, doesn’t mean it is final.  Controversial calls by the referees can be challenged by the head coach.  Each coach has two challenges per game, and a challenge to the referee’s call can be initiated by tossing in the red flag from the sidelines. The play is then reviewed by an “impartial team in New York” and then a final decision is relayed back to the officials on the field. Overturning these calls in the final stages of the game can potentially change the outcome of the final score.

We as human beings in the “contact sport of life” often get into arguments and disputes about how others are “playing the game” of life with us. One of our teammates may blow the “referee’s whistle” on us, claiming a violation of expected conduct.  Unfortunately, we do not have the availability of instant replay to review those controversial encounters, but we can “toss in the red flag” to have those disputes mediated by Mediation Services of Adams County (MSAC).

In football, both sides agree to abide by the rules and outcome of video review of the play. In mediation, both sides agree to sit down with a trained professional mediator to review the disagreement, discuss it and work toward a mutually agreed upon resolution.  This approach is most often more efficient in terms of time and money.  In addition, such solutions can leave the disputants agreeably disposed toward one another as opposed to a long, drawn-out court fight.

Mediation Services of Adams County has well trained and certified volunteer mediators ready, willing and able to provide the conflict resolution services that enable participants to get on with the game of life.

MSAC will be hosting a 22-hour training event, March 13-14 and 20-21, for individuals who would like to be introduced to conflict resolution skills that can be used in life situations. Non-profit organizations and human-service agencies should also consider the benefits of having at least one mediation-trained staff member on board.

If you hear the whistle of a presumed violation in the commerce of life, and If you would like to toss in the mediation flag for resolution of a conflict, or be trained in mediation skills, contact us at 717-334-7312 or find out more by visiting the MSAC website: