Umpiring: Not as Easy as It Looks
A little creative writing I did about my job.
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A job: each person’s individual responsibility in the work force. My job: wearing long pants, two shirts, protective gear, and a hat in the summer, getting yelled at by a bunch of middle age moms and dads while their focus-deprived offspring attempt to partake in America’s pastime. That’s right; I’m a youth baseball umpire. Through this occupation I have learned things applicable to my everyday life not just while trying to help a coach realize that one call I have made will not ruin his son’s future career as a professional baseball player. First, be careful what you say. A simple comment at the opening meeting of “coaches, let’s have a good game so we can all get home and watch football,” by an ignorant umpire such as myself can and will be interpreted to the losing coach as time winds down as “hey coach I’m gonna cut this game short because I hate being here.” That will be the case nine times out of ten. Second, never appear in anyway partial. My favorite of the four, never, and I mean NEVER talk to one coach if you aren’t going to talk to the other immediately after. Even if the conversation you have with the one coach is about why you ejected him last year as he tries to defend his side, make absolute sure you recap it for the other coach after you are finished. Every single time, the coach who was not talked to will assume the coach is either bribing or threatening you to call in their favor. Third, don’t make threats. Even if they are unintentional, a comment to the commissioner of “since it’s that coaches last game, I shouldn’t eject him right,” is a guaranteed shot of gasoline to the coaches already raging fire and will typically cause the coach, who at this point is storming away, whip around in a complete one hundred eighty degree turn and yell “I dare you to eject me.” Lastly, whatever you do, do not walk through the dugout of the coach who has just gone on a complete tirade in your face about the awful game you just called. If you don’t heed this warning, the coach will assume you are challenging him and he will resume his fit and yell at you, embarrassing his self a little bit more. Now for anyone who didn’t follow this entirely amusing story, here is a recap. First I jokingly said to the coaches at the very beginning that I wanted a quick game, second I talked to one team’s head coach about the last time I called one of his games when I ejected him, third I unintentionally threatened the coach by asking the commissioner if I should eject him, and fourth I went through his dugout to get to the concession stand to turn in my score card. Here’s the result of my mistakes: the coach runs over to me as I record the score yelling and complaining, I ignore him so he grabs my shoulder and turns me around (bad idea on his part, it is a felony in the state of Texas to threaten or touch a youth sports official), he goes off on his tirade using profane language at the top of his lungs (another felony at a youth sports park) until the commissioner comes, the commissioner asks him to leave, I ask if I should eject him, he dares me to, I let him walk away, then continue to walk through the dugout where he is packing his stuff only to be yelled at once more. Oh and just for the record, the kids in the game were seven.