Last night, I presented the 2006 NFHS rules interpretations at my HS chapter meeting. It is the first meeting of the year and the only meeting when HS coaches and Umpires meet together. Last night I received my first game assignment of the year. Saturday April 1, 2006 will be my first game of the year. I'm scheduled to do a varsity scrimmage.

After a long winter it is a day I always look forward to. It's opening day for me. For those of you who have been here over the years, you know it is also a time when I reflect on one young player and the darkest day of my baseball life

It’s a day I review over and over in my mind. It’s a day that, in fact, I should not have been there, but I now believe that divine providence placed me in the moment.

By my reckoning he would be in college now.... I will never forget him.....and I write this to
keep his memory alive for me.

I umpired his game on a storybook beautiful day. It was Blue sky, sunshine and baseball. I know he was nine or ten years old. My memory of him is not all that clear until he came to bat.

I saw the pitch that came hard at him, I cringed knowing he was going to be hit.... and I watched him crumple when the ball hit him square in the body. He went down and the tears flowed.....

I bent to help him, and try to comfort him. His coach and I lifted his shirt to see the mark the ball made......and I saw it..., it was already red...and angry looking.......but when lifting the shirt, I saw the other marks....... the angry purple bruises that only fists and adult hands can make....too many to be accidental.....

He tugged his shirt down and got up....He said he was fine... He took a moment to dry his tears and kid like ran off to first....The game, of course, was more important than his getting hurt...

I was the one who called the police....

I'll never regret that.

His coach bought the hotdogs after the game, more to delay the departure of the team, while I called the police.....I heard later he was taken out of the home and his parental abuser was charged. I heard he moved to live with relatives.....

I never saw him again......But I do see him every year, in every young mans face.

I look for him in the crowds of ballplayers that I get the privilege to protect every season.

I wonder so much about this boy. How could anyone do that to a child. On TV now there are ads for reporting child abuse....and the reason most don’t is "how can I be sure?". I can tell you that I was, that day, and remain today, 100% totally sure. The evidence of the beatings that boy was taking left me no grey area....

I wonder if baseball was his refuge from the monster. I wonder if he is ok. I wonder if he ever knew how much he has affected my life and my relationship with my son and with the boys I umpire. I wonder if the coach and I will ever be able to meet and not talk about that day......so far its the first thing we mention when we meet after a long off season. I wonder how many others are out there. I wonder if he is happy.

I wasn’t supposed to be there that day........I was a HS umpire and usually did not do "Kid ball".........but my assignor needed a favor......could I do this one game for him?. I was put there for a reason...... I know I have said this in the past.....but to me burdens shared are burdens lifted. And I thank all of you for allowing it into your lives.


I am haunted by this experience.....but wouldn’t change it. Writing this every year gives me some relief from the anger, tears, sorrow and guilt that I feel. After thinking on this for the past week or so, I had come to the conclusion that I was not going to post this year. I want to let this go. But it’s in the writing that I get the release, so please bear with me. I tell you that there is something very therapeutic in writing this each year. I feel responsible to keep the memory alive, not that I could ever forget it. It does help me

I chose to write it here because of the people who are here, knowing that you will get it.....knowing that you will understand.... There is so much of this story that is left untold, and most of it is hard gritty stuff. From the calling of the police, to the making statements, to the accusations and the reactions people had that quite frankly, I have suppressed because they are just that horrible.

When you make accusations against someone, you become the bad guy. I was clear, I had the evidence in plain view, and everyone who viewed it, then agreed. But the hour after the game was the toughest hour....But Id do it all over again……..

You must know that there are people, (who did not see the bruises) who still think I had no right to do what I did.

I never saw him again......But I do see him every year, in every young mans face.


I’m free of this for another year.
Original Post
What an incredibly powerful story. Yes, you were definitely put there for a reason. Yes, you absolutely did the right thing.

I know the feeling, though, of being haunted. I have the same feeling because I saw a boy being hit with a belt in the mall (I approached them but quickly retreated due to the fact I was alone with a toddler and pregnant). Of a boy in one of my son's kindergarten classes that so desperately wanted to go home with us every single day. AND... of a boy on the high school team now that we know has a bad home life... I wonder are we doing enough and will I have regrets later about what I didn't do?

You were obviously courageous and did what others didn't want to do... I am sure that young man is eternally grateful for what you did.
piaa_ump---

I both smiled and winced in recognition when I saw the title of your thread. Year after year you've challenged your demons and laid them to rest, at least for awhile, by posting your story. BLESS YOU for mustering the courage to do it yet again! Doing the RIGHT thing often means doing the most painful, the most difficult. Never second guess doing the RIGHT thing, despite the backlash hurled your way from the doubters and accusers and hypocrites. Bad guy?? That young man, wherever he is today, surely sees you as a savior.

And we applaud you for doing the RIGHT thing then...and doing the right thing NOW. I hope the knowledge of that eases some of your pain. Again, BLESS YOU!!! applaude applaude applaude
piaa_ump,

I read this story last year for the first time and it is one of the greatest stories I have ever read my entire life. It is just as powerful this year. It definitely brings tears to my eyes for many reasons. There is so much to this story - providence, luck, recognition, guts, second thoughts, what might have been, human nature - good and bad.

I have been down a little bit these past few weeks due to my son's circumstances which are strictly related to a "game" we call baseball. You have put me in a much better place by having the courage to do what you did on that day and to tell that story for the benefit of others. I do believe in Angels and heroes. You are both of them.
piaa_ump:

That is a powerful story.

Thank you so much for posting this sad story again this year. Many of us weren't around this website last year at this time...we would have never known of this young man's story without your recollection each year.

For this young man and all of the other abused children out there...please post your recollection each year...it indeed connects with this audience...Bless you.

Lesson learned?...step up folks when a child is abused...it isn't easy...it is enormously important.
Great thoughts everyone.

I would like to nominate this one for Golden Threads because of the potential impact it can have. It may rob piaa_ump of some of the cathartic effects it provides in re-telling the story, but I think one way that can be managed is - come this time next year, bump the thread with any new insights or revelations gained from the previous year. It could also be bumped by retelling the story in the bump. Just a thought.
thanks piaa_ump.

It's great that all the old timers remember that story from the past, but what a great time of the year to bring it to the forefront for new and old alike. It's one of those situations we don't want to remember but at the same time we cannot forget.
piaa_ump,

We've never met but you made me cry. I can't thank-you enough for making the phone call that saved that boy. Five years ago, my 22 month old niece was beaten to death. She'd had 18 happy, healthy months on this earth before her mother took her to live with the monster who killed her. She was kept out of daycare and away from doctors and relatives because her mother and the killer feared they'd be reported, but we later learned that more than 2 dozen of their friends and aquaintances saw the severe and unusual bruises on her but didn't want to get involved. I don't know the child you saved, but I can't thank-you enough for making that call. Bless you.
piaaump - I remember this post from last year and it touches me as much this time as last year. CD said it correctly - you are a hero. Anyone that takes the time to get involved when they don't have to, to help someone is a hero.

This child may be alive because of you. At the very least, they will always know someone cared. Knowing that can carry a lot of power in a person's life. Bless you and others that make the time for kids that need them.
piaa_ump

Every year I swear I will not read this thread - because I know it will rip my heart out.

Then, every year I remember, the boy.

Reading this is the least I can do for him - so many others like him. It is a situation we all need to be aware of.

I sincerely hope if I am ever in the situation you were in - that I will have the courage to do what you did. And yes, I am sure it would haunt me just as it has you.
As a parent of 4, any time I hear a story of a child getting hurt, or some tragic story involving children, I get very, very sick to my stomach. I have NO clue how people can harm a child and I have intervened as well (long story) on the behalf of a young boy. But given the situation as you explained it, you can almost picture the little boy with a combination fear, pain and embarrasment in his tear-filled eyes. VERY moving story. Thank you for being there for him and thanks for sharing.
PS: I second CD's Golden Threads nomination!

This painful subject is too important, and it fits the original and ultimate reason our former Grand PoohBah, Bob, founded this website: to provide adults with tools, advice, and valuable information so they, in turn, can assist children along life's path.
Piaa--You did the right thing. I went through something very similar a few years back with a student of mine. A six year old girl, with belt marks across her neck, covered by make up. I was the one who called the police, I was the one with her when she told the stories of her life at home. I was the one who cried buckets full of tears upon hearing the abuses she faced daily at the hands of the people that were supposed to love her the most. I was the one who watched her walk away, backpack in tow, to a new life, hopefully better. Do I regret it? Never. But I do use this as a reminder, when my kids don't always do as I'd like or take for granted the blessings given to me. Sometimes we are put in uncomfortable situations because we are the ones meant to change situations for the better. You were the one that cared enough to not care what anyone else thought. Good job Piaa--
piaa, This is the first time that I have ever read this story and I have that much more respect for you. What you did that day took a lot of courage that some may never have had. There is a reason for everything and you know the reason you were there that day. And I'm sure where ever that kid is he blesses you and respects you as well.
P_ump

As I read your post, I recalled it from last year. For whatever reason, it seemed more powerful this year.

To me, this has got to be the most important/best post to ever grace these hallowed "pages". Mainly b/c this site is about the kids, and when it comes down to it, what is more inportant than a kid's safety and peace of mind.

It took incredible strength and courage on your part to step in. The fact that there was no question in your mind of the cause of his bruises, probably made your decision a little easier. Nonetheless, in my mind, this makes you a giant among men - a true hero. Thanks for sharing your story and maybe helping someone else make a similarly tough decision in the future!!

As much as you wonder about the boy/young man and his current station in life, you can rest assured that he wonders the same about you, and thanks God for you every day.
piaa

We remind ourselves every year that baseball is just a game. But as we all know, great things happen during the process of learning the game and in playing the game. Your's is a unique but powerful example of what baseball can do for kids and adults alike.

Thanks for making the decision you did and sharing it with us.
piaa_ump: The one thing that I believe in SO STRONGLY is the idea of divine providence. Yes, you were put where you were supposed to be, and yes, OF COURSE you did the right thing in reporting it, and yes, you are supposed to remind us of this boy, who represents so many, every year. Thank you. I wasn't around last year, so I would not have known about it.

It takes courage to report abuse. You are an angel and a hero, like CD said.

May I remind us all that child abuse, taking many forms, is all around us. We just have to listen and look, and be attuned to our little voices that say, "This doesn't seem right."

Last year, in my "calling" as a substitute teacher in a junior high school, I overheard a 12 year old girl telling some girls about her uncle "abusing" her. Red flag...I notified the school social worker who talked to her and her friends, and then she made the call to the authorities. I had to speak to the police and possibly testify....was it awkward? Yes. Was it the right thing to do? Absolutely. Will I do it again? I hope I never have to, but of course I will. We must.

Sadly, child abuse is everywhere. In every community. We must do everything we can to stop it.

This should go to the Golden Threads forum, but piaa_ump, please write it each year. All of them should go to the Golden Threads forum. Because children are "golden threads," weaving in and out of our lives...
Piaa_ump, yes I remember this thread from years past, but I still cry each time I read it. Thank you for sharing a story that may give someone here the courage and the conviction to do the right thing that can mean all the difference in the world to another child.

KmomNH, I'm so very sorry for the loss of your precious niece also.

I agree with the Golden Threads plan for this thread. If Piaa_ump doesn't mind, one of the moderators will move it there in a couple of days.
If there is anything good to pass on from this thread...think it is that more and more...... it is a requirement to report abuse rather than an option, especially for occupations dealing with children and failure to do so....is punishable by law. Would not be needed if all people followed piaa_ump's actions, but unfortunately, for many reasons....people do not....

Worked in an elementary school in a low income area.....high drug/alcohol usage......and as probably other posters in similar work situations can verify.....you come to know the CPS caseworkers.....and it is never easy to see......and there is no understanding of it.....can just say.....if you suspect....report.
piaa_ump:

Great story: Of course you did the right thing. In 1980 when I graduated from law school, I went into practice for myself. I got appointed to child neglect/abuse cases, at first having to represent the abusers. I got to know the social workers that dealt with the aftermath of that neglect and abuse and they asked the Chief Judge in my 4 county circuit to appont me to represent the children. He began to appoint me to every case as the Guardian ad litem for the children.

Although it may be difficult to understand, after the legal minstrations were concluded when these children were finally permanently taken from their abusive parents, it was almost always a heart wrenching experience. They did not want to leave. But I felt it was my job to follow up on those children when they were placed into their "new home" with their "new family." And I did.

Although the system is not perfect piaa_ump, I assure you from personal experience that that child is in a far better place and has the chance to be a far better person for it. Thank you.
Piaa_ump,
You are a credit to your profession and the human race. If only everyone cared to get involved like you did, this world would be much better off.
I also believe things happen for a reason, and, not only is it "..burdens shared are burdens lifted." but, when you give of yourself, you receive back tenfold. I hope that certainly applies to you.
We should all take a lesson from this.
PIAA-ump...

I too stand and applaud your action. You give yourself too little credit for stepping into the breech on behalf of this child. Far too many of us would have noticed the problem and rationalized it away, forever afterwards minimizing the event in an effort to push away our own demons.

You are haunted by this event. Who wouldn't be. But how much worse would be the effect had you opted to ignore one young boy's plight. Your action sets a great example for others, whether or not we choose to recognize and follow it. As for your detractors, I am convinced that all people who dare to make a difference in this world will be ridiculed. How sad and small.

I, too, am one who places no stock in coincidence. You were the right man, at the right time, by devine design. I believe each of us is called to make a difference in this world, to greater or lesser degrees. You, sir, hold my undying respect and admiration.

Please don't stop telling this story as it may inspire someone else to care enough to intervene on behalf of a child in trouble.
We may have disrupted the pattern here a bit by placing this thread in the Golden Threads forum. Here is a bump on this one:

by piaa_ump:

quote:
After a long winter it is a day I always look forward to. It's opening day for me. For those of you who have been here over the years, you know it is also a time when I reflect on one young player and the darkest day of my baseball life

It’s a day I review over and over in my mind. It’s a day that, in fact, I should not have been there, but I now believe that divine providence placed me in the moment.

By my reckoning he would be in college now.... I will never forget him.....and I write this to
keep his memory alive for me.

I umpired his game on a storybook beautiful day. It was Blue sky, sunshine and baseball. I know he was nine or ten years old. My memory of him is not all that clear until he came to bat.

I saw the pitch that came hard at him, I cringed knowing he was going to be hit.... and I watched him crumple when the ball hit him square in the body. He went down and the tears flowed.....

I bent to help him, and try to comfort him. His coach and I lifted his shirt to see the mark the ball made......and I saw it..., it was already red...and angry looking.......but when lifting the shirt, I saw the other marks....... the angry purple bruises that only fists and adult hands can make....too many to be accidental.....

He tugged his shirt down and got up....He said he was fine... He took a moment to dry his tears and kid like ran off to first....The game, of course, was more important than his getting hurt...

I was the one who called the police....

I'll never regret that.

His coach bought the hotdogs after the game, more to delay the departure of the team, while I called the police.....I heard later he was taken out of the home and his parental abuser was charged. I heard he moved to live with relatives.....

I never saw him again......But I do see him every year, in every young mans face.

I look for him in the crowds of ballplayers that I get the privilege to protect every season.

I wonder so much about this boy. How could anyone do that to a child. On TV now there are ads for reporting child abuse....and the reason most don’t is "how can I be sure?". I can tell you that I was, that day, and remain today, 100% totally sure. The evidence of the beatings that boy was taking left me no grey area....

I wonder if baseball was his refuge from the monster. I wonder if he is ok. I wonder if he ever knew how much he has affected my life and my relationship with my son and with the boys I umpire. I wonder if the coach and I will ever be able to meet and not talk about that day......so far its the first thing we mention when we meet after a long off season. I wonder how many others are out there. I wonder if he is happy.

I wasn’t supposed to be there that day........I was a HS umpire and usually did not do "Kid ball".........but my assignor needed a favor......could I do this one game for him?. I was put there for a reason...... I know I have said this in the past.....but to me burdens shared are burdens lifted. And I thank all of you for allowing it into your lives.


I am haunted by this experience.....but wouldn’t change it. Writing this every year gives me some relief from the anger, tears, sorrow and guilt that I feel. After thinking on this for the past week or so, I had come to the conclusion that I was not going to post this year. I want to let this go. But it’s in the writing that I get the release, so please bear with me. I tell you that there is something very therapeutic in writing this each year. I feel responsible to keep the memory alive, not that I could ever forget it. It does help me

I chose to write it here because of the people who are here, knowing that you will get it.....knowing that you will understand.... There is so much of this story that is left untold, and most of it is hard gritty stuff. From the calling of the police, to the making statements, to the accusations and the reactions people had that quite frankly, I have suppressed because they are just that horrible.

When you make accusations against someone, you become the bad guy. I was clear, I had the evidence in plain view, and everyone who viewed it, then agreed. But the hour after the game was the toughest hour....But Id do it all over again……..

You must know that there are people, (who did not see the bruises) who still think I had no right to do what I did.

I never saw him again......But I do see him every year, in every young mans face.


I’m free of this for another year.
How can one read this and not be moved to tears. PIAA, when it is your turn at the pearly gates, the crowd will part and our good Lord will say: nice call my Son.

I, like all of us, just can’t understand evil, but it is out there. I pray that the boy isn’t horribly affected in life by what happened but is encouraged by you as a role model.

God Bless You Sir

I still think of you Kiddo........I have a grandson now.......he's only  5......in a few years he will be the same age as you were the last time I saw you.........

I hope life has been kinder to you......

My thoughts and prayers for you remain the same......

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