THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
If you're of a certain age, perhaps you've seen the movie "The Matrix." If you haven't, here is your spoiler warning...
Have you ever had a point in your life where you can't go back to things the way they used to be? Have you ever noticed that "life will never be the same?" That's what Thomas Anderson, a.k.a Neo (played by Keanu Reeves), experienced in "The Matrix" when he was awakened from the false reality and shown what life really was: a barren landscape left from a war between humans and machines.
There are a lot of points in my life where I felt that way. But when it comes to sports, I can pinpoint one moment where I experienced it: the moment I became a baseball umpire.
Since I started officiating baseball games, life hasn't been the same. Sure, I still root for the Yankees, but I watch umpires just as much. It's an odd situation where my friends give me a friendly about of grief for my knowledge about umpires!
In an article in Referee Magazine back in March discussing the integrity of officials, it was pointed out that some officials don't treat other officials with respect when they're watching a game, especially if it's a game involving their kids. For example, if I went to go see my proverbial son play a baseball game, it would be considered wrong if I berated the officials on the field when they know I'm also an official.
Officials are a special breed who are charged with upholding the integrity of competition. Whether we're on the field or in the stands, all officials have to stand together, like a fraternity of people sharing a common bond. We cannot complain about fans one day and then be those complaining fans the next.
That's how officials experience the Thomas Anderson effect. Life is never the same once you step on that field!