Presenting the Kinsmen $1,500.00 donation to the Ladysmith Minor Softball Association are (left to right) Al Moore, Kinsmen secretary; Jason Kelland, Kinsmen treasurer; Graham Cousins, Minor Softball; Chris Kennedy, Minor Softball; Jalene Dick, Minor Softball and Glen Popenko, umpire in chief Minor Softball. (Photo by Duck Paterson)

Presenting the Kinsmen $1,500.00 donation to the Ladysmith Minor Softball Association are (left to right) Al Moore, Kinsmen secretary; Jason Kelland, Kinsmen treasurer; Graham Cousins, Minor Softball; Chris Kennedy, Minor Softball; Jalene Dick, Minor Softball and Glen Popenko, umpire in chief Minor Softball. (Photo by Duck Paterson)

Kinsmen donate to Ladysmith Minor Softball Association

$1,500 donation will help train umpires

By Duck Paterson

The Ladysmith Minor Softball Association was gearing up for another season of recreational ball, until it realized getting umpires to officiate the numerous games was going to be a problem. For the past few years, the association found it’s been difficult to get existing officials, as well as new recruits, to come out to ump the games.

“The umpires have to take a course through Softball B.C. that was costing each $110 per year,” said Glenn Popenko, umpire in chief. “This was becoming an obstacle to many and our league felt that it was an undue burden and because of that it was going to limit the number of games the players would be able to have each season and possibly limit the number of kids that would be able to sign up to learn and play the game.”

At times the local league even has to try to get officials from out of town. Other mid-island leagues in are also looking for the same, so games sometimes have to be cancelled due to the fact there are no umpires to fulfil the league rules. At the start of the 2020 season, the Minor Softball Association had ten candidates lined up for the umpire clinics but with the pandemic happening, plans were washed away.

When Popenko approached the local Kinsmen club to see if they would be able to help cover the cost of some of the courses, he was caught off guard by the generosity of the club. It voted to cover the cost of the course for up to 15 umpires. On Feb. 15, the club presented the Softball Association with a donation check of $1,500.

“For the 2022 season, the league is planning a full season of ball,” said Popenko. “But at the present time, we only have three umpires, of which two are also ball players so we do have some issues.”

Umpires are paid $30 per game, as well as supplied with most of the gear they need. Students in high school can take the course and umpire, which gains them school credits. Local umps can also officiate at games as far away as Port Alberni and even Courtenay so it can be a bit of a part-time job.

For anyone interested in being an umpire or wanting more information, contact Glenn Popenko at 250-734-1780.

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