The Correct Call!
Enjoy The Moments!
It may seem a bit odd for an umpire related blog to feature a fishing photo as its cover image, unless you realize that these photo were snapped just about 45 minutes before the first pitch of the Carbon and South Sevier Varsity game at the Price Fairgrounds. I love the Price, Utah assignments because it is one of the most scenic drives and there are dozens of places you can stop and put a fishing line in the water. The determining factor is with whom I am assigned to work the games.
Two years ago I had a similar assignment in Vernal with the Lady Utes with a partner who had no interest in fishing. We passed Deer Creek, and I flashed back to a huge Rainbow Trout I reeled in 20 years ago. We then passed Strawberry Reservoir and the memories flooded my mind of past successes. Then we drove over the top of Starvation Reservoir and I knew it was still a lake I wanted to fish. Passing through Roosevelt I knew where the local fishing hole was south of the highway on the east end of town. The entire trip I talked about umpiring while inside I was thinking about fishing. I made the decision right then and there that I would try to incorporate some fun in my next out of town assignments. Now I realize that it is very dependent upon the weather, the amount of time early you can depart from real work, and the partner with which you are assigned, but as the saying goes, "All work and no play makes Michael a dull and grumpy boy!"
This year has been especially wonderful because I have had several assignments with my son Adam. Those of you who have worked with him have easily come to like him. Adam is quickly becoming a very good official and he is about as fun a partner as one can get lucky enough to be assigned. Adam enjoys fishing with me when we backpack, but we had yet to fish together on an umpiring assignment. That was, until last week when our assignor graciously paired us up to go to Price. Adam didn't know it but I loaded the poles, tackle, and refreshed his licensed. We left with 40 extra minutes to visit the "dumb fish pond" just south of the softball complex on the Fairgrounds. That's right, just 2 minutes away from the ball fields is a community pond stocked with some nice size dumb fish. Catching the dumb ones is almost as fun as the smart ones, but there is a lot less hiking and time involved. Dumb fish provide an easier chance of setting the hook, and from there the fight is the same. When time is a factor, but I am still seeking the enjoyment, then I do my best to land as many dumb fish as I can.
So how did we do at the pond? Adam brought in one and I reeled in two. They were not liking anything we through in the pond, so I grabbed the biggest and most obnoxious lures I own. It is an oversize Jake's Spin-a-Lure in fluorescent orange with black tiger striping. I bought it without realizing that the lure itself is about the size of Moby Dick. All three of our fish were caught with the same oversized lure. If we had another hour we could have easily reeled in 20 more. The fish in Price just love florescent orange lures!
It is the small moments like Adam and my 40 minutes at the Price fish pond that help to set the umpiring moments in concrete. And when I work with Adam, it is the memories that will carry on long after I call my last strikeout.
Does this mean that if you don't like to fish that I do not want to be assigned with you for travel games? Absolutely not. Instead, we will just have to figure out some other way to make it memorable. It may be stopping for an ice cream in Roosevelt or getting deep fried macaroni and cheese balls in Delta. But if you have a fishing pole, then renew your license and buy some lures and we'll be sure to do a Google search for "Dumb Fish Ponds Utah" and stop for a few minutes and make some memories together on the way to or from an assignment.
NEWSFLASH! - While typing this blog entry I just received a new assignment for this coming Tuesday. Yep, it is for Carbon High School in Price, Utah with Adam Leavitt as my partner... SCORE!!!
Make it a great day! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah