Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who I Am Not

Today I filled in for my son's baseball team as the behind the plate umpire. It was the second time ever and the first was just a few days ago. I reluctantly agreed to be a back-up ump if the other 2 guys couldn't do it. I had never umped, I had no desire for it, but parents were not saying yes, so I did. I love helping others, so that is not the issue. On my first go around I knew the other teams' coach. He and his wife are friends and my wife had mentioned I was not excited about it, so they said they would go easy on me. Actually my friend walked over and pretended to hand me $20. Pretty funny. It was fine. There were a couple of calls I just asked the infield ump to make. I didn't realize how taxing it would be on my legs, squatting down like that for 2 ours! Killer!

So then came this game. Jeanne-Ann called me and said that the coach needed me. I was getting there right as the game was starting, but the other guy was stuck in traffic in Portland. They needed me. I guess the second ump can only do the outfield because of his legs. Ugh! So I rushed over there and arrived 5 minutes before game time. There was only cruddy gear left and no clicker to keep track of strikes, balls and outs.

I got there in time for the game. Did I mention I do not like this job? So anyhow, the game started. It was going fine for the first 2 innings. Then there were a few calls people didn't like (because I guess they can see better from the sides on the bleachers behind the fence than I can from right behind the plate or something...OK, I'm sorry for a momentary fall into sarcasm) Then all of a sudden the coach from our team yelled for his catcher to touch the bag. The catcher didn't really understand and I had no clue why he was doing it. I was confused. Was it for the runner that crossed the plate 1 minute ago or the guy on third who started towards home but went back? I guess the coach thought the runner never touched the base He did. Well, that got parents on the other team to get upset. One parent kept yelling a lot of trash so I looked at him and said enough and he kind of gave me the "OK, sorry." motion. That lead to a bunch of moms saying, "Did he just say something? I think he said something. What did he say? Was he yelling at our people? Blah, blah, blah, blah." I almost turned to them and told them, "Yes, in fact I did say something. Now I am going to say something to you too. I have the power to eject you from this field, so trap it!" But I bit my tongue and said nothing.

I do not do well with adults yelling at a kids game in a way that is completely childish...even younger mindset than those on the field. I also do not do well with being yelled at myself, or people making under their breath comments about me or "my job." It is extremely draining for me. There are some who are well designed for this kind of role, but it is not me. I am the positivity guy. I like making people smile and helping them find joy in situations. I do not like anger, yelling or mean words...especially when they are directed at me.

I have made it clear that I do not like this role, but I volunteered and will continue to do so as needed. I will not sign up for this role in the future though. My heart and my legs just can't handle it. A baseball umpire is who I am not. Perhaps I need to be a cheerleader instead...if only I could fit into those ski...never mind!

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