At my son’s Little League All Star game a few weeks ago I engaged in a conversation with the home plate umpire before the game started. I asked him how long he had been umping little league games. He said it had been 18 years. He then proceeded to tell me about a conversation he had the night before with another long time umpire who had advanced to umping college ball. In a nutshell it was a story about leadership and giving back, so it resonated with me and I want to share it with you. This is how the conversation went:
Two umpires, one Little League, one college level volunteering at a Little League game, had a conversation after finishing a particularly long game.
College Ump: Man, I hate calling little league games! Glad I don’t have to do this anymore.
LL Ump: Did you ever play ball when you were a kid?
College Ump: Well, yes. Why?
LL Ump: Somebody gave their time to call your game, didn’t they?
College Ump: I guess so.
LL Ump: That’s the point. Somebody once gave their time for you when you were a kid. Now it’s time for you to give your time for a kid. So, don’t complain. Don’t forget where you came from.
I loved hearing that and thanked the umpire for relaying the story, and of course for his commitment to giving back to our youth.
It’s a message I tell leaders often. “Don’t forget where you came from!” A leader once helped you with your development. Now it’s time to give back and help someone with theirs.