Saturday, October 01, 2011

back into baseball

Last Saturday I got back on the baseball field for the first time in over two months. I love umpiring baseball. It's a great part-time job, but I don't do it for the money. I do it because I love the game.

After time with my family--the baseball field is one of the places I most love. I love being on the field, under the sunshine, smelling the fresh grass, listening to the kids laugh and play and compete.

It's almost like I have a relationship with the game. I played baseball as a kid and loved it--but I wasn't going to have a long career (I was a great catcher, but a lousy hitter).

I umpired Little League when I was in high school, and really enjoyed it.

In my 30s, I decided to get back into it. I actually looked into going to professional umpiring school in Florida, but was told I was too old to ever make it to the majors. So Durwood Merrill, a retired MLB umpire, suggested I get into high school baseball.

I umpired for several years in Texas, and had a wonderful time. I had good training, and got really good at it. But in 2002 I moved back to Virginia. I intended to get into baseball there, but life got really busy, fast. I started working in a new ministry, met Jamie, and soon we were engaged.

A year later we were married, and soon after started having more kids. Baseball kept getting put on hold.

I remember driving home on spring evenings, and seeing the lights on at the baseball field at the local high school. Each time I felt a longing to be out on the field, in the game.

After seven years away from baseball, I finally got back into it when I was out of work and we needed any money I could earn.

I joined the local association and began working as much as I could. I got good training, and was soon getting as much work as I wanted. It was wonderful to be back on the field, working, learning, getting better.

I spent two years umpiring in Virginia. Again, I got good training, and developed a really good reputation. I got a lot of good games, including some good playoffs.

Then we decided to move to Washington, where I'm starting over again.

It went well Saturday. The games were fun, the weather perfect. I quickly felt comfortable, even after 2 months off the field.

So once again, I'm in a new chapter of life. We've found a home, and I'm settling into my job, and our routines with work and school. Hopefully baseball will be a part of that as we move forward in our new lives.