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Irishtown’s Aaron Pauley finds time to balance family life and being a man in blue

Aaron Pauley is in his happy place when he’s umpiring baseball or softball games. He gets on the field as often as he can because both groups struggle with numbers, but his family and work commitments come before he puts on the mask.
Aaron Pauley is in his happy place when he’s umpiring baseball or softball games. He gets on the field as often as he can because both groups struggle with numbers, but his family and work commitments come before he puts on the mask. - Dave Kearsey

Oh, there’s another game tonight.

Maybe, this year you can cut it back a bit.

Aaron Pauley heard those words from time to time from his wife, Krista, who shares the responsibility of raising six children with a dad who is an avid baseball and softball umpire away from his family and work life.

The 39-year-old native of Cambridge, Ont., a licenced practical nurse with Western Health who works 12-hour shifts at the hospital, is a Level 3 umpire in both sports.

A hectic life, no doubt, raising four boys and two girls ranging in age from six months to 13 years old, Pauley knows he would never be able to manage his busy schedule if it wasn’t for the support he receives from his wife. He’s thankful that he gets to do something that keeps him engaged in a game he loves while enjoying the perk of having some extra cash in his pocket.

“Without the support of my wife I wouldn’t be able to do it myself,” Pauley, who lives in Irishtown-Summerside, told The Western Star earlier this week. “My wife and I are a team and we support each other. Without each other we wouldn’t be as a well-run machine as we are.”

He’s been a man in blue on the softball diamond since he was 13 years old, and he got into calling baseball games three years after that when he was 16 so he’s no stranger to calling balls and strikes or dealing with irate players who get bent out of shape over a particular call.

He puts his family and work first. On a weekly basis he sits down with his wife and they plan out their schedules to ensure everything runs smoothly. Once he got his schedule figured out he informs both user groups of his availability and they hand out games to him. This usually means an average of four nights a week decked out in his umpiring gear.

Pauley knows the umpire plays a key role in any sports competition so he takes his role seriously. He keeps abreast of rule changes as they happen and he puts time back into grooming young softball umpires in his volunteer role of umpire-in-chief for the west coast under Softball Newfoundland and Labrador.

His wife and children always tag along for games when they can so the family is together, but there are times when things get heated during a game and umpires are subjected to verbal abuse from time to time whether it comes from the players or somebody watching the game from the sidelines.

He knows emotions can run high during a game so he takes that into consideration when he finds himself in some interesting discussions with players who weren’t particularly pleased with a call he made.

He learned to never take anything personally and always leaves it on the field when the last out is recorded.

“Most of the things that are said are said in the heat of the moment and people realize that after,” he said, noting he never holds grudges and forgets everything once the game is over.

He has a busy schedule, but he loves being a part of the game. He encourages other youth to try umpiring to see if it’s for them or not.

He knows fresh new faces are the key to improving upon the small numbers of officials committed to calling games. His oldest son, 13-year-old Isaac, is somebody he’s trying to lure into the world of umpiring and it appears he has some work to do.

His children follow him to the diamond so he figured getting his oldest son on board would be a great way to share his love of the game with his boy and help grow the numbers at the same time.

“He’s still on the fence about it. He’s not sure,” he said.

It’s a safe bet dad will continue to show him how much fun he can have in an effort to see his boy decked out in blue.

Anybody interested in being a softball umpire can attend a clinic May 26 at the Western Regional School School of Nursing at Monaghan Hall. For more information contact Pauley at aaronpauley@westernhealth.nl.ca.

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