The arduous process of training fourteen-year-old umpires has begun. The trainers have condensed sixteen hours of training into eight intense sessions taking place every Friday night in the elementary school building. The fields are just outside their window, dark at this time of night, with a few piles of dirty snow still standing defiant against the impending Spring. Given the warm weather forecast, they won’t make it past this week.
The guys at this training are serious, speaking in hushed tones. “Have any of you been in the championship?” the baseball director asked the group. My son raised his hand and said “twice” recalling the two epic, grinding games that resulted in two of the trophies on his shelf. A few members of the rival team in the room shot him a dirty look. They remember.
He is taking notes that are more detailed than any he has ever taken for a class in school. He has drawn stars next to things like”infield fly in effect here” and has underlined things like “don’t forget to say have a good game, coaches.”
“They told us that if the parents say anything rude to us, that we should not say anything at all back.” Good advice.
The teacher was wearing a T-shirt that sums up what he will really need to know once he gets behind the plate. It read:“Rule number one: I am Judge, Jury and Executioner.”
He should definitely make a note of that.