Spring’s Arrival

A month ago, some of us had our doubts that spring would ever arrive. As the calendar turned from April into May, those concerns have abated.

In Maine, the transition from snow and cold, to something more tolerable happens rapidly, as if someone flipped a switch. In a mere week’s time, the temperatures have jumped 20 degrees, the grass is greening, crocuses are in bloom, and school-based baseball is in full swing.

This week has been a busy one for me, Mr. Umpire. My umpiring went from mere theory and rules memorization, to the experiential, in a very big way.

Monday, I was headed out the door, set to do my first game on the bases when my cell phone rang before I reached my car in the driveway. I was being rerouted by the scheduler–I was now doing my very first game, by myself, behind the plate.

Crocuses and umpiring are in full bloom.

Crocuses and umpiring are in full bloom.

I was already nervous headed to my first game. Now, I’d have no back-up. Would I remember everything I needed to know? How would it feel to be back under my very bulky gear, nearly 15 years after my first stint as an arbiter?

Fortunately, the first one was a 7th grade game. What that meant was that the speed of action was a bit slower than high school level games. Just like riding a bike, umpiring is something I haven’t totally forgotten.

On Tuesday, I was on the bases for a freshman game, 30 miles away. For non-umpires, there is a lot to working a two-man system, which is what Maine uses, except during high school playoff time, when the number expands to three. Actually, the two-man system is what minor league baseball uses. If you go to a Portland Sea Dogs game (if you’re in Maine), then you are seeing the professional movements and rotations of what amateur umpires like me perform during our spring afternoons and summer evenings.

When I arrive home tonight, probably quite late, I’ll have umpired five games in five days. It’s been a great way to blast back into the umpiring realm. I’m glad I’m in fairly decent shape, although I have to admit to being a bit sore this morning.

Of course, it’s springtime meaning that my weekend will be full of other, non-umpiring chores like mowing, raking, and picking up the downed limbs and other debris left over from the winter. It’s also Mother’s Day, for all those mothers out there. I’ll be visiting my own mom on Sunday.

Happy Spring!

The younger JBE, sans facial hair, headed to his first game in 1998.

The younger JBE, sans facial hair, headed to his first game in 1998.

3 thoughts on “Spring’s Arrival

  1. Five games in five days, good. Keeps you from hanging around on street corners.

    On Wednesday, I went and played touch rugby with the local team after not having done any rugby in nearly two years. I stunk, of course, but I held up well and only had to pull myself out for lack of wind once (here’s to those little jackrabbit backfielders making things easy for us old guys). Today, stiff, but not sore, I’m actually surprised.

    Now back to edging the front driveway in 80-degree heat by hand. Suck it up, old man.

  2. No street corner jive for me, LP. Good on you for getting back at Rugby. Stiffness (and creaky) is my natural state. Actually, my quads are getting a good workout, doing 250-300 squats every afternoon, behind the plate.

    JAB, a few things have changed in 15 years, but umpiring remains the same. My first week’s gone well, although as a “newbie,” I need to work on my timing and not rush my calls. Headed west towards the NH border today.

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