Hometown: Penrith, a suburb of Sydney, Australia
Level: 6 (Australia) & ISF Certified
Status: Active - 18 Years
First Year As An Umpire: In-training, 1996-97. Qualified as Level 1
in season 1997-98
Where Did You Start Umpring: Southern Districts Softball Association
Why Did You Start Umpring: Teams supplied umpires for other games when
they had the bye. I was a catcher, and always got to do plates in this situation.
I received some assistance from the local umpire trainer, found it made me a
better umpire and that I started to like it.
Why Do You Keep Umpiring: I quickly realised I was a better umpire than I was
a player! Also, the umpires seemed to have more fun. Now, I love both
umpiring and training umpires.
What Has Umpiring Taught You: So much! Sport is like life... It isn't for
spectators - it's for participants. Importantly, umpiring has taught me that I
have an amazing extended family that extends even to countries I'm yet to
visit. No matter what, if you're an umpire, you're never alone.
Who Taught You The Most: Kerry Franklin, a now-retired Australian ISF umpire from Melbourne. She taught me never to handicap myself by using self-limiting ideas. I once said to her I'd love to achieve what she had, but that it was impossible as I was too old (I was 42). Her response can't be printed here, but I will say that the impact of her words was why she was the first person I called when I achieved ISF accreditation was Kerry.
Most Memorable Call: "Off the Base" call at first in the 2012 USA World Cup of Softball VII Final between USA and Australia. Bottom 5, Kaitlin Cochran (USA) bunted. The throw to 1st was off-line, dragging the Australian 2nd Base just off the base in a bang-bang play. The play enjoyed multiple replays on ESPN’s telecast.
Most Memorable Ejection: Can't say I have any worth remembering...
Funniest Thing Said To You By A Coach, Player or Fan:
Coach: (After I had called a runner safe at 1st). Coach: What did you see, Blue? Me: The runner beat the ball, coach.Coach: (Leaning in, speaking quietly)... He's in the wrong sport - He should be a (expletive) olympic sprinter!
Career Highlight(s): Attaining ISF accreditation in 2011 and travelling with the Aussie Spirit (Open Women) team in to the USA World Cup of Softball in 2012 and the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship in 2013
Favourite Moment In Umpiring: The roar of the crowd as I called “Play Ball” on the USA v Canada game at the 2012 USA World Cup of Softball. It was an amazing moment.
International Tournaments: 2013 Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship
Favourite Place to Umpire: Canada
Most Unusual Umpiring Experience: In 2003 I was a Level 5 (Australian) candidate in Canberra during a catastrophic bushfire season. We had action plans in place in the event of embers falling on the diamonds or athletes being overcome by the smoke. We even had one day when we were on evacuation alert. Just like the entertainment industry, the show went on.
A Piece of Advice For Those Beginning: New umpires are often a little unsure of themselves, and this shows on-diamond. Practicing signals to get them looking strong, using good vocals, and making sure our uniform looks great are ways to both look and feel strong and in control when we take the diamond.
A Piece of Advice for Those In The Middle: Set goals. You’ve been around for a while and have an idea what you’d like to achieve. Use SMART goal-setting techniques (Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely) to create a plan and make your dreams become reality. Make sure that you have a mentor and review your progress regularly with this person.
A Piece of Advice for Those Approaching The End: Enjoy every single moment!
Photograph Property of CJ Webb
Ron in action at the Canadian Open in 2013Ron