One does not always have to play softball to be defined as an umpire. However, you have to be really conversant with the sport, enough to have a say on the rules and how the game is generally played.
This is Don Poy’s story, the 74-year old softball umpire in New Zealand. This age makes him the oldest umpire with others he knows, not far from him, mainly around their 60s or their early seventies as well. Poy did not always play the sport, but he had enough desire to learn about it to at least get involved.
The Early Years
Don Poy began his life as a softball fan in 1988 during the 89th season of the under 14 girls’ tournament. These were the South Island tournaments that were held in Gore. He kept going for the South Island Softball games in his country until he was first granted an umpiring position in 1993. The opportunity came on the January of that year, giving him the chance to actively participate in the under 19 boy’s competitions that were held at Christchurch.
Currently, Poy is at level 5 of his umpiring career. One has to get to level 7 if they are to umpire for international leagues. However, Don Poy says that he is comfortable with his level so far and does not plan on going beyond.
Though he is not yet an international umpire, his successes are quite significant. He has been the chief umpire at Southland for ten consecutive years. He also has a membership deal with the Southland Softball Association Board. Poy has either been the chief tournament or assistant tournament umpire of many competitions across New Zealand.
He received his life membership in 2013 for the Southland Softball. In his life, he has watched the game change and players fluctuate. At one point, he became the only umpire in the region for six years.