Hi everyone, I'm sure my story isn't isolated, so interested to hear what's gotten others "back in the mask" after a long time away.
After having not umpired since my college days, I got back into calling games (informally) over the past couple of seasons, mainly as help for travel clubs (starting with my own boys' club) not being able to get engaged officials for anything outside of sanctioned tournaments. Started calling some weekend double-headers primarily at 14u and 12u levels, and forgot how much fun it is to remind these players and coaches (and hopefully, by extension, some of the parents...) that good umpiring can be such a huge asset to the game.
This winter I went through some classroom and on-field clinics with my 13-yr old son to get him on the Youth Umpire list with a few Little Leagues in our area, and he has really gotten after it. Does a couple weeknight games on his "off nights" from club practices, and Saturday games when we're not travelling for tournaments. He's really taking a liking to the role, and his transition from "14u player" to "mature, professional-acting umpire" is really fun to watch. My wife took him to an assignment last week after having not seen him on the field for a couple of months, and was blown away by his confidence and controlled demeanor on the field with a bunch of adults he doesn't know. I've had a blast working as a crew together on some higher-level 50/70 games and Majors games with him, and he's become a requested umpire for the District from a couple of our local leagues! Pretty fun to watch them learn and fall in love with something new about this great game.
Thanks for the site, love reading through all the posts and we'll likely be more active members on here through the spring and summer. Play Ball!