With softball season just around the corner, the members of Central Alberta Softball Umpires Association (CASUA) are seeking volunteers.
While the association had around 150 umpires in their organization pre-pandemic, a lot of those numbers have not come back and in 2022 the organization was down to 105.
Combining the fewer numbers with a large geographic region and an “exploding” demand for services, the situation isn’t sustainable for the current members.
According to past-president of the association, Brad Lyon, more softball clubs are being created in the region every year, which is driving up demand.
“More teams means more umpires are needed,” said Lyons.
Lyon says that in 2022, “pretty much all”of the games were covered; however, in many cases only one umpire was sent to officiate a game instead of the usual too.
“We do our best to provide one umpire for every game,” said Lyon.
The umpires in the association cover an region covering Sylvan Lake in the west to Coronation in the east and Camrose in the north and Olds in the south.
Minimum requirements to become an umpire in the association are to 12-years-old and have an interest; everything else is teachable.
“We’ll work to teach you the key rules,” said Lyon.
In addition to an umpire annual clinic, Inexperienced umpires will be partnered with more experienced ones to provide on the job training as well.
To cut down on travel, a number of umpire clinics are being offered throughout the region before the season kicks off on May 1.
A clinic in Rimbey starts things off on April 1. That clinic will be followed by a pair of back-to-back clinics, the first in Red Deer on April 15 followed by one in New Norway the next day. Finishing things off, a final clinic will be held in Castor on April 29.
According to Lyon, the umpires are busy with tournaments most weekends from when the season starts through to the end of July, with some weeknight officiating as well.
Anyone interested in becoming a softball umpire can get the registration and contact information under the Rookies and Parents tab of the association website, www.casua.ca.