Dear Little League Umpires

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words: Becca Whitson
image: Pam Sorg

You’re finally finished. Take a deep breath; the season is over. You’re so young, just thirteen or fourteen sometimes. You give hours and sweat at those ball fields. You stand there, often looking up as grown men shout at you about a call they think you missed. It’s sad, isn’t it, that the younger the players, the more fired up the coaches and parents are? So you make a bad call in a five-year-old T-ball game and get chewed out by the men who are supposed to show you what a man looks like. That must be confusing. And the stands aren’t any better. Many parents think they know the rules better than you do (and some are right), but they feel it necessary to shout the rules to you from the stands. What? That’s not helpful? And I know sometimes your parents come too. They stand behind the backstop and watch. No pressure, huh? I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have all eyes on you, just waiting on a mistake. I don’t hear people congratulate you for all the good calls you make. Nope, just the ones you miss, at least, according to them.

Your efforts aren’t in vain. We see you stand your ground when others may try to intimidate you. We see you gently line up the four-year-old’s feet when he just can’t figure out what his coaches are telling him to do at the plate. We see you there pre-game, fixing scoreboards and asking nicely if someone will please work it during the game. We see you laughing with the batters when there’s a delay in the game; they think you’re the coolest. We see you move the bats out of the baseline so the kid running home doesn’t trip. We see you come out night after night with a good attitude, giving those little boys your best as they make lifelong memories.

We see you.

Here’s the thing: adults aren’t perfect. We’re supposed to show you how to operate in the world, and sometimes we mess that up. Sometimes we act like the five-year-old T-ball game is the World Series. Sometimes we think we must be right, which means you must be wrong. Sometimes we’ve had a long day at work and bring our frustrations to the ball fields. Sometimes when our kid finally gets his first hit but you call him out at first on a close call, we hurt so much for him that it comes out as anger toward you. I’m sorry for all of that, on behalf of all the grown-ups at the ballpark. Please forgive us.

We see you.

Our boys played baseball in the front yard last week, and I heard a little of their conversation. It started like this: “All right, boys, you know the rules. Hats on straight, shirts tucked in…”

They see you, too.

Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for caring for our kids, even when you’re dodging wild pitches and thrown bats. Thank you for your patience when little ones hit the ball and run to third and when the big ones start to think they are major leaguers. Thank you for having the character to look past the adults to do your best for the kids. I see you.

See you next spring.

A Grateful Mom.


Becca Whitson is a local counselor in private practice. She and her husband write about marriage, parenting, and life at WhitsonLife.com. To contact her, email becca@whitsonlife.com.

Find Becca online at: whitsonlife.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

Whitson-Life

WhitsonLife, BeccaWhitson, and MattCWhitson

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