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Posts Tagged ‘Officially Speaking’

Perry Lee Barber is one of the first female umpires in baseball history. Today, she’s sharing her story – and it’s a great one.

Women everywhere should listen.

An interview with Barber is posted on the Women’s Sports Foundation. Also, you can read Barber’s commentary on her personal blog, Officially speaking…

The interview on WSF is awesome – discusses how she grew to love Baseball (which is evident on Officially speaking…). She also mentions how the idea of umpiring came from her mother’s encouragement. (love it!) WSF writer Kelsey J. Koenen says,

“Barber’s work as a professional baseball umpire has blazed a trail for women umpires and begun to chip away at one of the last sports careers presumed to be reserved for men.”

This is evident in the picture at the left-hand side of this post (below). In that picture, the University of Michigan head coach and Mets manager were meet at home plate during a February spring training game with the first all-woman umpiring crew: Perry Lee Barber, Ila Valcarcel, Theresa Fairlady and Mona Osborne.

SO COOL!

But the journey to this point in time has not been easy. Barber mentions that she often feels alone in an occupation dominated by men.

WSF reports,

“At times, it was daunting, especially as a female, and the need to be confident and aggressive was vital. Soon Barber realized the good ball players learn control and claim their own power, not giving it to the umpire, who, Barber said, is merely a “conduit through which things flow.””

And when you’re alone, it helps to have some support. With more than 20 years of experience behind her, Barber has built a support network for female umpires. As WSF says, “Barber’s network continues to grow, and her plans are nowhere near through.” Barber says,

“I want to make sure there’s a mechanism in place by the time I die,” Barber said, “that women have of reaching out and finding and encouraging one another to view umpiring as a possibility in their lives, as one that’s fun and rewarding and that might eventually lead to one or more becoming major league umpires.”

I love this idea – and appreciate the fact that Barber is thinking beyond her own needs and situation toward a future of other women umpires.

Personally, I think her network should start on the blogosphere. She should encourage female umpires to create their own blogs and network online. That way, friendships and alliances can be built throughout the country and their voices will be heard. (Opposers will think twice before casting their public opinions when they know these ladies have blogs and online networks.)

Regardless, I’d like to wish Barber the best of luck. What she’s doing is truly special and means a lot to female athletes (and future umpires) everywhere.

More information can be found at perrybarber.com.

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