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Becoming part of the brotherhood

by on August 31, 2017 9:17 AM

Part of the reason I got into sports journalism was how much I loved sports, especially baseball. I had played as a kid in some local little leagues. I was never very good and I was pretty lazy as a kid, so I never got very far, but I always loved watching and learning the sport. 

During my fantastic internship experience with the Gazette this summer, I must have made my love for baseball pretty clear in my articles.

As I was moving into my apartment for the new school year I got a text from CCG managing editor, and experienced umpire, Kerry Webster, asking if I had any interest in trying my hand at umpiring a Little League softball tournament. Of course, I jumped at the chance to try something new and to be on the field again.

First thing first — what a great experience.

All dressed up for my first game of 10U softball, I was pretty nervous. Whenever I think of umpires, I picture fans booing after a bad call. I couldn’t have been more relieved when I missed my first call and heard a distinct lack of jeering. Everyone was as nice as can be.

I acted as the base umpire in a two-man crew for six games over the weekend and, as everyone is when they first take up something new, I probably made it clear how new I was. As with anything, I became more comfortable as each game went by.

It’s very different to be standing behind the base paths, trying to get the best view of a play, but also stay out of the play.

Even when my lack of experience showed through, I got all the help I could ask for from coaches, players and my fellow umpires.
The biggest thing I learned from my wonderful experience is that umpiring is a brotherhood.

Watching as my crew chief, Webster, was greeted by all the coaches and a bunch of players, I also learned that the relationship between local umpires and the teams they help oversee is like a family. Before my experience, I thought of it more as neutral parties or even enemies at times. Boy, was I proved wrong.

I highly recommend that anyone who has the chance to umpire to take it. It was such a great experience, and I hope that, one day, I can add “plate umpire” to my list of experiences.

 

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