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Umpires Wanted In New Brunswick

By Tara Clow Jul 27, 2022 | 1:06 PM

(Photo: submitted)

There’s a shortage across the Maritimes, for Slo-pitch, Softball and baseball.

Umpire Chief for Slo-Pitch National Shawn Gladstone says there are 110 games per week for the Hub City Slo-Pitch league alone and that’s just adults, “Softball New Brunswick, and they have programs for youth, they’re worse off than we are.”

Gladstone says you need to have a bit of thick skin to be an official because they are sometimes treated badly by players and some Coaches.

“But umpires should not become be there just to make the $30 per game. We need you to enjoy being on the field. Appreciate the challenge, be mentally tough, and don’t take anything personally. Be a great communicator. Have a feel for the game and understand empathy and emotional intelligence when it comes to how coaches and players are feeling. Sometimes they’ll bring the bad day from work to the ball field. Learn to read off the players and teams and keep a cool head that will make you a success, as far as an umpire goes,” Gladstone adds.

Meantime, he adds, this shortage extends past New Brunswick. “It is across North America, Hockey, football, soccer and other sports. Officials are unfortunately being targetted for abuse and people just don’t want to deal with that on a daily basis.”

In Moncton, there are currently around 19 or 20 Umpires. “We’ve got about three or four newcomers that are currently getting ready to undergo some training. Ideally, we’d like to have five or six more. 30 is the magic number,” Gladstone pointed out.

To become an umpire, you must be 18 years old in New Brunswick, “Go on to the SPN website and do your test online. It’s 25 true or false questions. From there, once you successfully pass the exam, you go into checkout, you pay your fees (around $85) and that officially gives you your certification. From there, you have to invest in an umpire shirt, and we provide the rule book,” Gladstone states. “We then send that new umpire for the mentor program. We’ll sit with them for a game or so and they’ll watch us and then we’ll let them go behind the plate. We’ll give them pointers and once they reach a certain level of comfort, we’ll send them on their way and it’s very rewarding.”

If you are interested in training to become an Umpire, Gladstone suggests reaching out to anyone in the ball community and they can point you in the right direction.

He feels officials play an important role in the success of a sports league.


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