Dear Editor: I was greatly dismayed to recently find out that the Baseball Committee of the Richmond Hill Recreation Association had decided to hire all of its umpires from Hinesville. In essence, they are outsourcing jobs previously held by local teenagers.
To make matters worse, those who have chosen to outsource these umpiring jobs are not originally from this area, and therefore do not feel the commitment to our youth or the importance of hiring from within. I’m actually quite tired of hearing, “In Maryland, we did this. In Colorado, we did this. In Florida, we did that. In Pooler, they do it differently.” Well, we are not Maryland, nor Colorado, nor Florida nor even Pooler. We are Richmond Hill, and it’s high time we stand up for our town and continue to commit ourselves to supporting our youth.
For those of you who may be new to this area, or just unfamiliar with the baseball program, the recreation department has been the biggest employer of teens in this area for more years than I can count. The opportunities to officiate at ball games have been a great way for teenagers to save money for cars, gas, insurance and general spending money.
Umpiring and keeping score have taught these children how to work hard and be responsible by showing up for work on their respective days and at their respective times. Employing these teens has given the children a chance to grow up and to learn how to deal with various types of people. Lord knows some of them have had to deal with their share of irate parents and coaches.
Now, one could argue that the teenagers are not the best umpires. Some are, and yes, some are not. However, we have all had to be trained in our respective jobs at one time or another. In the same breath I would like to say there are just as many adult umpires who have performed less than adequately. When my boys played in the rec department, we had our fair share of bad calls. My one son now plays for a travel team and we continue to have our fair share of bad calls – bad calls by adults.
No one is immune to making a mistake or judging a call differently than that of the losing team’s coach. Therefore, teenagers being less capable or less adequate than adults is not a valid argument for outsourcing jobs.
It’s disheartening that not only do these committee members choose to sell out our teens so easily, they choose to sell out our teens at an increased cost to the association. It is a fact that “official” umpires get paid a far greater fee than the teenagers who have been hired in the past.
I challenge all of you who have worked as a teen official, know a teen who has benefitted from working as an official or are just outraged at this decision to outsource Richmond Hill jobs to stand up and be heard. The phone number for the recreation association on Timber Trail is 756-4075. Call and complain.
Past volunteer, assistant coach and board member for the RHRA for eight years