Ever Cheered For An Umpire?

Such a joy…and then a better-than-joy-surprise. In that order.

How often we hear of fathers and mothers who share with us, either in conversation or correspondence, about their son or daughter. Add to that Facebook. This week rejoiced in our former Snoqualmie neighbors, the Tegeler’s, who gave their children, Enzo, Lauren and Oliver, their first Disneyland experience. The pictures and the narratives were a genuine joy to see.

Last night another joy. A dear, dear friend Art Johnson, had shared about Luke, the baseball-playing-son-Luke. He and Charleen had every reason to be proud of their son. We had visited over lunch and then in e-mails. Last night it was the first time I saw “Luke in action,” playing first base for the San Marcos High School Rattlers. [Come on, can you give me a more “Texas” school nickname? The nickname alone should “quiver” the opponents.]

Art and I sat in camping chairs…literally behind home plate. Yes, a safety screen made sure foul balls didn’t reach us. Luke came to bat in the 2nd inning, a runner on first base. He’s tall, 6’2” and waited for the pitch with attention. Not so much attention he was a robot. What I would call fluid not stiff. And, no, there wasn’t sawdust falling from the bat…cannot happen because of metal bats. Still, the firm grip was obvious.

Then. The line drive past the outfielders…a stand up double. Ah, how great was that? Such a joy to see Luke in person. And to sense the pride of his parents.

Something else happened, though, that I’d never seen before. Got my attention, was so surprising. When the Rattlers took the field, the home plate umpire greeted the Rattlers’ catcher, reached out, and…yes, this: shook the catcher’s hand.

No, this won’t be in any UTUBE clip. But I found it remarkable. It’s been 70 years since I threw my first baseball. More games played in and seen. This, however, was the first time I saw such a gesture/act by the umpire.

After the game, it just happened. It really did, I didn’t wait to cross walking paths with him, the home plate umpire came by me. “Sir?” He turned, stopped. “May I share something with you?”

Now, no one does that. The umpire became tense, I’m sure assuming that I had something to criticize him. I continued, “I started to play baseball more than 70 years ago. Have played in and seen more games than I could ever count. I want you to know you did something tonight I’ve never seen. Before the first pitch you shook the catcher’s hand. That was great. Want you to know I consider you a class act. No, you weren’t perfect…no one is. But I could tell you gave your best and to shake the catcher’s hand. Thank you.”

He relaxed. Smiled, “I love what I do. Thank you…I simply wanted to wish the team well…shaking his hand…and actually it was the second time tonight I did that…treated both catchers the same way.”

Guess I need to ask. What do we see? What do we notice? Do we just ho-hum through each day, each exchange? Or do we see something that gets our attention and brings a smile.

Not a big deal. But on a rainy and thundering Friday [yes, in Leander, Texas the rain has been incessant for more than a week] the hit by Luke, the smile from his parents and the umpire shaking hands. A good memory to start this day. And, maybe. Just maybe you and I can create good memories as we relate to others.

You think?


About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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One Response to Ever Cheered For An Umpire?

  1. Tom Widlits says:

    In a word….awesome

    Tom Widlits Sent from my iPad Please excuse any spelling “liberties”


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