Kalamity K

The Daily Chaos of Kalamity K
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2005-08-23 03:04:17 (UTC)

Umpires, A Sports Rant and A Fork in the Road, Part I

Sports officiating, I have to say first off, is a job only
a select few dedicated and talented individuals can do.
Hell, I played sports for my entire life and at very high
levels, on competitive teams, goodwill teams, provincial
teams, teams that played in national champianship
tournaments and for university. I was a hot commodity
though my complete unwillingness to play the political
game did absolutely nothing but screw me and leave me
bitter - but proud that I never once sucked up to get
somewhere. I openly admit that I hindered my own success -
not only because I was a bit of a headcase but because I
did not and do not actively promote myself in situations
when it counts. I can boast and brag with the best of
them but when push comes to shove, I'm a suck who backs
down and doesn't speak up for herself. It's a trait I
hate about myself...

But I'm going to tackle one thing at once. I was a great,
highly talented soccer player when I was younger and
worked at a soccer camp for three summers with a boss who
was crazy and gave me the best performance reviews he'd
ever given anyone, "and it wasn't because [I was] a
girl". Uhm, yeah. That's like a drunk proclaiming, "I'm
not drunk, I swear!" Anyway. I never had any inclination
to be a referee for soccer. A lot of my friends and
teammates did it for extra money, a pretty easy way to
make some extra money while spending time around little
kids playing a game you love and while you get some
exercise at the same time. They all told me I should do
it too, get my referring certification and at least give
myself the option. None of them could understand my
absolute refusal to partake. I just couldn't stand the
thought of it. Reffing the kids as part of my afternoon
tasks at soccer camp was the extent of it, and even then I
got sick of hearing, "But that was wrong! What are you
thinking? It was out! It was in! It was fair! It was
foul! Hand ball! He was out of the crease!" Blah, blah,
blah! I didn't have many bad experiences with the kids
and usually laughed it off, actually, as did they, but on
occasion, well...I have a hot temper and on occasion it
was all I could do to just not tell them shut up and get
on with it. At the end of my third year of soccer camp my
life started falling apart and hasn't put itself back
together since but I can't afford to think about that time
right now. Even after all these years - nine or ten now -
it is still too painful to acknowledge, let alone think
about.

The reason I started this was to write about umpires. I
was supposed to be a one-line thing about baseball umpires
but anyone who knows me knows I take 200 words to say
something eeryone else can say in 20. WHATEVER. John
Gibbons, the Blue Jays manager, has been ejected from the
game in the 7th inning v. the Yankees, for the 6th time
this year. I can understand players and managers and fans
yelling and screaming but you know the one thing about
baseball that I really don't understand? It's how the
umpires react to the people who yell at them. I always
thought it looked funny, seeing an umpire and a player or
manager nose to nose, literally, screaming at each other,
but it never really occurred to me that it was strange
until someone who didn't grow up with baseball mentioned
it to me. And when you think about it - it is so fucking
stupid. The arbitrators of the game should remain calm,
in my opinion. But, I really don't care if they get
involved in a yelling match with someone, but the thing
that I really don't like is that instead of being a last
resort, it appears to be the first resort. Even worse, it
appears that they actually relish the opportunity to
engage in these screaming matches. Call me stupid, but
here's the thing - a manager or player who comes out
yelling and screaming isn't expecting the umpire to change
his mind. He's expecting to make a forceful point and
possibly get ejected. Some come out to scream to fire up
the team and to get ejected to serve that purpose
precisely. When a manager or player wants to make a valid
point, unless it's in the midst of a very intense moment,
the general approach is much calmer than the yelling and
screaming that makes the highlight reels. You don't argue
balls and strikes, etc., etc., etc. But you've seen
managers come out, speak to the umpire, clear something up
at least, and go back to the dugout nicely. When you come
out screaming, you know damn well what is going to
happen. So why do the umpires take the bait and engage.
Walk away. Speak calmly. Eventually the manager will get
his point accomplished - firing up the team, getting rid
of frustration, whatever it is, and he'll leave. But
yelling back, at the drop of a hat, just looks really
fucking stupid to me. I mean really. I really can't
think of another sport where this happens so blatantly. I
know it happens in all sports, but I can't think of
another sport where umpires/refs/adjudicators go red in
the face and scream and let spit fly at such a regular and
quick interval. It really bothers me. I haven't made my
point very well - but then again, do I ever make my
fucking point very well?

And I really want to tell Jhonny Peralta's parents that
they don't know how to spell. Anyway.

tbc...


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