Fair anger in adult league softball

The other day I was part of an adult coed softball game as the pitcher and to start this off… I LOVE playing softball and pitching, also. This particular league has double-headers every Wednesday so there were 2 games and when I saw who the umpire was, I committed within myself to just be cool. Go with the flow. Have fun. But this umpire is the most incompetent umpire I’ve ever encountered. Inconsistent, unaware of the rules, I’m sure he’s a nice guy, though. I had no idea the mountain in front of me was too big to climb. But let’s start with the first game.

Actually, Game 1 was fine. Mostly because I was playing outfield, just about as far away from him as possible. It could be that he made some shady calls but I was too far away to see the details of the plays.

Then we get to Game 2. I was moved to pitcher and in hindsight, I should’ve just stayed in the outfield. Being in the infield I was able to see up close his bad calls. The thing is, he was making wrong calls for both teams! So I guess he’s consistent that way?

By the end of the second game he and I (and the opposing team’s pitcher) had words and he asked the captain for my name. Darn it! I was so close to having a controversy-free night! I won’t get into the details of his incompetence because I’ll just get riled up again but what this post is about is the anger that rises up when things don’t go the way I think they should.

I went home proud of myself for the way I was mostly controlled in my conversations with him, instead of just being mean. Trying to define what it is that frustrates me so much is what I wanted to think about after the games. Am I just being too competitive? Am I cruel?? AM I NOT BREEZY ENOUGH?????? I discovered this: it’s not that the umpire is making decisions I disagree with (because that happens in sports all the time), it’s that he was making unfair calls and being disrespectful. I get super fired up when officials aren’t treating people or teams fairly. I’ve always been that way when it comes to fairness and cheating and good ol’ boy stuff. Now I’ll admit, I’ve been competitive my entire life and sometimes (most of the time?) the desire to win and be “right” can overtake my civility. I’ll be the first to admit it’s an ongoing problem but it’s getting better, I promise. The encounter with this umpire, though, wasn’t about me being right. It was about being treated fairly. The other pitcher was involved because in Game 2 he decided to act in a way that breaks rules of the sport but he’s one of those “good ol’ boys” that thinks he can get away with it because he’s friends with the umpire. I called him into a conversation with myself and the umpire and well, neither of them liked what I had to say.

But again, this isn’t about them specifically. I’ll wrap up by saying I’m happy with how I managed my emotions when usually I might get snippy and catty. This time was full of thoughtful, although perhaps not friendly, responses. It still ended with the umpire flexing his “official” muscles and the other pitcher telling me to go home to my mother’s basement. 🙂

Maturity all around.

I’m sincerely hoping this umpire is nowhere near the softball field next week but I’ll be sure to update if he’s scheduled to ruin more games.

-Out of the Wilderness