Great feedback from OnDeck reader

You may remember the article we included in this month’s OnDeck Newsletter, What are We Doing to Our Volunteers? The piece was centered around an email we received from a volunteer umpire who told the story of how he suffers abuse at the hands of coaches and fans, even though he his volunteering his time and spending his own money to officiate youth baseball games. This prompted a terrific response from Brian Kouwenhoven, a Little League President in Florida, who explains how he manages his team’s players and parents before each game to ensure that umpires are treated with respect:

Before games I remind my parents and players that umpires make mistakes(bad calls), just like players make errors and coaches call the wrong pitch, or send a runner that gets thrown out.  Per game, Umpires will make bad calls, players will commit errors and coaches will make bad decisions, unfortunately, umpires get abused the most. Once everyone gets the picture that we are all on a level playing field as far as making mistakes during a game, we are less likely to blow up at the umpires. I ask my players and parents, have you ever seen an umpire yell at a player for making an error or yell at a coach for making a bad decision? The thought gives them a better perspective.

Thanks for your articles – Brian

What a fantastic idea and one we might all want to emulate. We know that in competitive games things can get heated. But lets also remember that the umpires aren’t trying to favor either team and they’re not trying to miss any calls. Let’s take the spirit of this coach to heart and enjoy the game…and feel good about ourselves after.

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