Dawson Chaulk wanted to spend more time around the baseball diamond because it was one of his favourite places to be.
He wanted to learn the game and familiarize himself with the rules to make him a better player.
He figured being one of the boys in blue could help him achieve this goal.
Chaulk successfully completed his Level 1 clinic back in the spring and umpired around 40 games at various provincial minor baseball tournaments on the west coast coast as well as other invitational tournaments in the city. He even made his Corner Brook senior league debut during the summer.
The 15-year-old Corner Brook native was named the 2017 minor umpire of the year when Baseball Newfoundland and Labrador recently handed out its provincial award winners.
He was not the only Corner Brooker to find his name on an award. Brooklyn Childs was named co-minor female player of the year, while Jason Mosher and Steve Bugden shared minor division coach of the year honours.
Chaulk, a 15-year-old Level 1 student at Corner Brook High, found out he won the award when he attended the Corner Brook Baseball Association’s awards night over the weekend. He had no idea he was nominated for it so he was caught off guard for sure.
“I was pretty ecstatic. I was really happy and proud of myself. It was a real honour to get the award,” Chaulk said earlier this week.
Scott Mosher, a veteran umpire with 10 years under his belt, has played a key role in grooming young umpires and conducting the clinics for the newbies trying to be a student of the game.
He had no problems putting Chaulk’s name forward for the award because the rookie showed him commitment and conviction like he’s never seen in his years calling games, but more importantly he was impressed with how he showed an elevated maturity level for somebody who was just getting involved.
Mosher said Chaulk was one of the few guys that he seen during his tenure that he never had to worry about if he was going to show up on time or if he was going to be dressed appropriately.
“Being reliable is something I’m very proud of because a lot of people say they are reliable but they’re not,” Chaulk said. “It feels good that I can back it up and people know that you tell the truth and you’re actually committed.”
Chaulk admits he was a bit nervous when he got started because he knew there would be times that players and fans would question or argue his judgement, but he’s always focused on making the best call possible and tried not to question his call with hopes of never falling to pressure.
He wanted to be fair to both teams and hoped he’d never be the reason a team won or lost and he tried to make the right call every time.
“ I feel not matter what’s going to happen someone is going to disagree with you,” he said.
What really stuck out about him on the field, according to Mosher, was his conviction. Mosher was impressed with how confident he was in his calls and how he was able to back it up, a level maturity that usually doesn’t show in an umpire until they have some experience on their side.
“If he made a call he made it in such a way that everybody had to believe he was making the right call,” he said. “If somebody had a question he could provide an explanation for it and it was done in such a way that it wasn’t confrontational.”
Being a member of the third team on the field has been fun and a great learning experience so expect this boy in blue to see a lot of green again next summer.