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Sunday, July 2, 2017

The "Going The Extra Mile For The Love Of Youth Baseball" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Talking with my daughter-in-law Barbara about something that happened a few days ago after one of my grandson Caden's Little League baseball games.  Caden had played at a very neat field on Lampeter Road in the Lampeter-Strasburg School District.  The field is located about five miles or so to the south-east of the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The game was played at 6:00 PM in the Lancaster County 12 and under league between Caden's Mountville Braves and the opposing Strasburg-Willow Street team.  Great game, but what you didn't notice during the game was the great job done by the umpire behind home plate.  His calls were accurate and unbiased.  Reason for that might have been that he lived in the town of Gap, Pennsylvania which is 18 miles east of the ballfield where the game was held.  And what makes my story unbelievable today is that this man walked from Gap, PA to the ball field to the east of Lancaster!  Walked, with all his equipment in tow, on a hot day in June.  Took him SIX HOURS to make the trip!!  You read that right ... SIX HOURS.  
Little League umpire loving what he does!
I talked to him after the game, telling him he called a great game.  Years ago I too was an umpire when I called the games in an adult fast-pitch softball league and know how tough it can be to call a good game with no one complaining about the calls.  Well, he called a great game and I thought he should know.  Had no idea he was about to begin his trek back to Gap as darkness began to engulf the countryside.  I watched him as he left the field, thinking he was heading to his car in the distance.  Not so!  He was beginning to walk SIX HOURS home after the game ... in the dark.  Barbara was filling me in on the rest of the story after my wife Carol and I had left the field to head home.  Seems a parent of one of the boys on the Mountville team saw this gentleman about a mile from the field and recognized him as having just called the game he watched.  Stopped and asked if he needed a lift.  You betcha!  He drove ... and drove ... and drove, until he reached Gap.  He dropped him off at his home which was located in a trailer park in Gap.  Asked him why he would walk SIX HOURS to and SIX HOURS home again to umpire a baseball game where more than likely parents and spectators would be yelling at him most of the game.  Easy answer he said, "I love to umpire Little League."  Thanked the guy who dropped him off and walked in the door.  And, I thought I loved the game of baseball!!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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