By: John Engh, Chief Operating Officer
National Alliance for Youth Sports
Have you seen the latest viral youth sports video making its way around the internet? It’s a youth league umpire calling out what looks like a 10-12 year old kid on a called third strike and getting into it like he’s a major league baseball umpire with some ridiculous third strike routine. Now I am not one of those that says we need to be constantly praising our children no matter the circumstance, but I don’t need some guy making $25 a game doing a victory celebration after my kid just got caught looking at a third strike curve ball.
Should that really be part of a child’s youth league experience? I am pretty sure the pitcher gets enough of a feeling of accomplishment by the result of his pitch. He doesn’t need some nutty dad behind the plate trying to entertain the adults in the stands to know that he just made a good pitch!
I don’t know what the situation was in this particular game, but my thought is that the more important the situation, the more animated this guy probably got – and in turn, the more inappropriate. If the situation was last inning with the winning run on third and this 11-year old strikes-out looking, does he really need some adult to remind him that he just let his team down by not swinging? I don’t think so! Plus, you can hear the parents in the stands laughing at the umpire - do you think the strike-out victim thinks they are laughing at him? I’d guess probably yes!
This would be like a referee in a youth soccer game having some crazy celebration when a child missed a critical penalty kick. I mean really, just make the call and be quiet and leave the fun for the kids. They don’t need some over the top reminder that something good or bad just happened.
I already know based on the comments on the YouTube page that this guy is popular and some people really love it. But my guess is that those people are the parents of the more accomplished players and as is the norm in youth sports, they aren’t concerned with the bigger picture! As a general rule at NAYS, we always say that when the sports become more about the adult than the child, someone needs to take a closer look – and I think this situation is a perfect example.