The Score Keeper's Error

The Lord guides the humble in what is right. . . 

Psalm 25:9       

 If we want to learn the English language, we begin by learning the rules.   

But, once we master the language, we learn to transcend the rules. School children learn: “Never end a sentence with a preposition.” The literary master, Winston Churchill, on the other hand, said: “That is a rule up with which I will not put!”  


When God began leading his people out of Egypt to the Promised Land, his guidance was simplejust follow the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. They didn’t have to be spiritually insightful; they just had to be obedient.  

The journey through the wilderness began with the people mechanically following the rules. But that isn’t how God wanted them to finish the journey. He wanted them to learn to follow him when there was no more pillar of cloud or fire. His goal was to teach them to trust – to be guided by their knowledge of the living God.  


As they neared the Promised Land, Moses sent twelve spies to scope out the Promised Land. They returned and all agreed it was a land flowing with milk and honey. But they gave a dire report about the powerful people who lived there.  

Caleb disagreed. “We should go up and take possession of the land. We can absolutely do this.” Among the spies, only Joshua sided with Caleb, and added, “If the Lord is pleased with us he will lead us into that land.”  

This is what the Lord was working toward: two men whose actions were guided by humble faith in his gracious gift and his mighty power.  


For over forty years, John Condon was the beloved announcer for Knicks’ games in Madison Square Garden. Dave Anderson, writing for The New York Times, told how Condon was announcing the Holiday Festival basketball tournament. North Carolina was clobbering Princeton, 103-76, and, in the final minute of the game, Rodney Fogelman ran to the scorer’s table – hoping to play in the last few seconds.   

“This kid’s got to get in the game,” Condon told the scorekeeper, Tom Kenville, “Blow the horn.”

“I can’t blow the horn. Play’s got to be stopped.” 

Ignoring the rules, Condon leaned over, grabbed the horn, and blew it.  The referees on the court, stopped and stared at the scorer’s table.  

“Scorer’s error,” Condon boomed through the P.A. “Now going into the game for Princeton, Rodney Fogelman.”  

Condon leaned toward Kenville, “This kid will remember this the rest of his life.”  


Condon knew the rules. But I for one am glad he knew more: he also knew the memories he could create for Rodney Fogelman.  

(text copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre)