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Umpiring as a first time job

Umpires constantly focus on the ball game they are administering. In between pitches they are at ease and standing up straight, but the moment the pitcher begins their windup, the umpire crouches down into the saddle position, ready for the next pitch. The saddle position is depicted in the image above.
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Umpires constantly focus on the ball game they are administering. In between pitches they are at ease and standing up straight, but the moment the pitcher begins their windup, the umpire crouches down into the saddle position, ready for the next pitch. The saddle position is depicted in the image above.

Review: There’s no doubt that most high school students are incredibly busy. Between juggling academic classes, extracurricular activities and sports, it’s difficult to balance a daily schedule while also maintaining a job. That’s why I recommend umpiring as a first–time job for anyone who seeks flexible working hours, an entertaining, positive work experience and unusually high pay for first–time workers.

As part time employees, little league umpires can typically set their own schedules. An umpire manually assigns what days they wish to work, and they can block specific dates and times that conflict with their schedule. This method allows for a flexible work schedule so that busy students are still able to manage their time between outside commitments — such as school and family obligations — while still maintaining a doable work schedule.

Since most students are busy throughout the week working on schoolwork, it’s advantageous that most baseball games are held on weekends. In the rare circumstances when games take place on weekdays, umpires can always block their calendar in advance for the weekdays to prevent a scheduling conflict.

Baseball games vary in duration. Depending on the age level that umpires work, the game time and rate of pay will differ. An umpire’s amount of experience has a direct relationship with the division level that they work. This way, inexperienced umpires will typically umpire inexperienced, younger baseball players to foster a learning environment for everyone involved.

In the upper divisions, games can be very entertaining to watch. Batters hit over–the–fence home runs, pitchers repeatedly strike out batters and athletes generally compete at a much more intense and competitive level than the lower divisions.

Because of this competitive nature, an umpire must remain as focused as possible throughout the game to ensure that both teams have an equally fair chance of winning. As an umpire, remaining objective in decision–making is one of the most important standards. This is especially true at the upper divisions where games are faster–paced and athletes are older and typically more competitive.

Fortunately, umpires are usually compensated generously with high wages in return for the extreme focus required throughout each game. Typically, first year umpires can expect about $35–$45 dollars per game, although the exact amount varies depending on the specific division and position. As umpires gain experience, they can expect their pay to increase as they umpire higher–level games with longer game lengths and more competitive athletes.

However, in order for a job to be worthwhile, the high pay is solely an added bonus. A worthwhile job must provide employees with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. A worthwhile job is one which benefits the community.

In umpiring, students can feel this satisfaction because they are managing parents, coaches and game rules to create a positive learning environment for kids. Many umpires are also previous athletes through the same baseball organization that they work at as umpires, so this way umpires can give back to a sport that has brought them so much joy throughout their childhood.

This isn’t to say there aren’t any downsides to the job though. Usually games take place amidst the spring in which there can be simmering hot weather alongside many back–to–back games, or if one is really unlucky, back–to–back–to–back games. Umpires are already head–to–toes in an all–black uniform, and if an umpire is working behind home plate, then they must wear protective gear beneath their uniform along with a face mask to protect them against unpredictable baseballs.

As an umpire, safety is a top priority both for the sake of the athletes and umpires alike. In many baseball organizations, umpires are granted free water from the local “Snack Shack” that they can drink between innings to ensure umpires are remaining hydrated amidst hot, long days.

Umpires must also hone their communication skills as they will be interacting with competitive coaches and fans, many of whom have no problem expressing their discontent by means of repetitive shouting and bantering. Many baseball organizations undergo umpire training with prospective umpires prior to their on–field debut so that they are adequately prepared for difficult situations as such.

For sports–lovers who are looking for part–time work with flexible working hours, decently high wages — considering no prior work experience is required — and a sense of accomplishment in their occupation, students should consider umpiring.

Notable little league umpiring organizations near WHS include Westlake Baseball Association, with games hosted at Westlake Elementary School, and Agoura Pony Baseball which primarily hosts games at Lupin Elementary.

For additional information on how to get involved in youth umpiring please visit westlakebaseball.org or agouraponybaseball.org.

 

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About the Contributor
Shane Douglas, Co-Editor-In Chief
he/him This is my third year on The Arrow staff. I am Co-Editor in Chief of the print issue.  Previously I was the Sports Section editor. I enjoy the freedom we have to write about what Students at WHS are interested in. In my spare time, I run cross country for Westlake and binge watch movies and TV shows. I am a Marvel and Star Wars fanatic. Something interesting about me is that my favorite meal combo is Mountain Dew with chocolate–covered pancakes.
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