Our very own Gav is off to the Softball World Champs!

WBSC XII Junior Men’s Softball World Championship

 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada from July 7th, 2018 to July 15th, 2018.

Whitehorse, Yukon 2014

I was fortunate to be selected from NZ to officiate at this coming WBSC XII Junior Men’s Softball World Championship tournament being held in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, starting this Friday 6th July.

Eighteen umpires from across the globe were selected to work at this prestigious 9 day Championship, with fourteen teams from the 4 corners of the globe all vying for that Championship medal, come the last day 15th July.

Hamilton Fast Pitch 2015

The selection process began back in January with confirmation of my appointment being announced by the Chief Umpire at WBSC (World Baseball Softball Congress). This will be my 3rd World Championship that I have attended within the last 4 years and all have been in Canada.

I took up umpiring in 2004, after playing the game for some years. They (players/mates) would say “You’ve turned to the dark side now dick” It was hard at first, I think playing the game and being a student of it has helped but the rules and technical side of umpiring has been and still is continual learning itself. Now, ALL that hard work, perseverance and numerous hours out in the sun for umpiring instead of being at the beach or out on the boat fishing, is starting to pay off.

We have 7 Levels here in NZ for umpiring. We all start on Level 1 for a season at age grade then progress from there. Level 4 is where you sit for your badge at a national age grade tournament. This is normally an assessment followed by a 50 multi question test. If you’re successful, you are presented with your NZ Umpiring Badge which allows you to umpire Snr Men’s/Women’s games. The world is your oyster. From Level 4 – 7 usually takes 6 years and that’s if you pass all your yearly assessments and exams, so 2 years per Level. Level 6 gives you all national tournaments and internal internationals only.

To get to Level 7 you must have successfully completed Level 6 requirements, be nominated to sit your IsF Certification. This certification is normally combined with our Australian colleagues where we share the cost for the UIC (Umpire in Charge) from Canada/USA to attend and run the certification seminar. This seminar is a week-long and very intense programme with both practical and theory assessments going the whole time. However once you achieve your Level 7, lookout……..Every year there are 2 World Championships in play, so you can see there are plenty of opportunities. My goal is to attend the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

— Gavin Shepherd