Dr. David Lee has been an umpire for USA Softball of St. Louis for eight years. When David joined the USA Softball metro association, he became part of the Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) staff covering District 6, which covers part of West St. Louis County including the Chesterfield Valley area.
“Always looking to better himself as an umpire, David is hard working and has mastered the skills of organization and communication, along with pouring endless hours into developing his own umpiring,” said UIC of USA Softball of St. Louis, Greg Pohl. “These are essential skills as an Umpire Coordinator because they enable one to have a well-rounded perspective of what needs to be done in order to successfully assist the tournament umpires throughout the week.”
Because of his umpiring experience and knowledge of the St. Louis area, David Lee was chosen to be the Umpire Coordinator for the 2018 USA Softball Junior Olympic (JO) Cup – to which he quickly accepted.
Despite not having the advantage of living in close proximity to the Tournament Directors and additional staff, his organization and communication with them were key factors in his ability to make sure those umpiring the tournament were well taken care of come the week of play.
Once appointed, David immediately began assessing the various aspects of the job and developed a plan, which included a timeline as well as listing out the resources available to him. For him, he knew he would need some support from his family so he got his wife, Dawn, to assist.
“Unknown until late in the tournament, Dawn helped with several aspects of the tournament as she was able to answer emails, assist with various tasks and help coordinate the event alongside David,” said Pohl. “This proactive approach enabled David to successfully meet all of his obligations and umpire the 18U GOLD National Championship the week before.”
Come tournament time, Lee’s entire family got involved. Both his son and daughter joined their parents, with David Sr. driving in from Iowa to help support the event. Receiving help from Glenn Vetter, another veteran umpire, also added to their team and the way in which they were able to help throughout the week.
“Coordinating the expanded JO Cup was a task for an army,” said JO Cup Umpire, Mark Korras. “The Lee family was that army – forever attentive to the needs of the umpires and staff.”
The Lee family could be seen regularly on a golf carts with coolers of water headed to each field to replenish water when it was needed and in some cases, back up the water that was already there. With a total of 12 fields over three quadrants, this was no small task. Together, they worked cohesively everyday to ensure the umpire’s needs were met.
“David and his family never once showed any frustration in carrying out their duties,” said USA Softball JO Cup Umpire, Tim Ellis. “They took all of it in stride and made it look like they did it all the time. They were seamless in all aspects of the duties they handled.”
According to Pohl, “One of the most significant aspects David contributed was his decision to have three different changing facilities brought in, one for each quad of fields. With such a large facility, the decision to have three changing locations helped the umpires stay much closer to the fields they umpired. Concern about the heat was also considered, so David helped arrange for portable cooling units to be brought in so umpires would have a way of cooling off during their off game. He arranged for several ‘tiny’ details throughout the week like changing areas for umpires, shade and sitting areas between games, local restaurant coupons/deals for the evenings, and more.”
“The hospitality that was afforded to 72 umpires at three different locations was outstanding,” said JO Cup Umpire, Linda Hoover. “He truly made being an umpire at this tournament a wonderful experience.”
“We were all very lucky to have David Lee and his family taking care of our umpire family for the benefit of the many young ladies who participated in this tournament,” said Deputy Director of Umpires, Jim Craig.
About the USA Softball JO Cup
The inaugural USA Softball JO Cup began in 2015 and featured 32 teams in the 18-under division and has grown to include a 16-under division the past two years (2016, 2017) and 14-under division for the first time this past year (2018). There will be a total number of 96 teams split across three separate age divisions. The USA Softball JO Cup features a five-game guarantee, three pool play games and a double-elimination bracket into a single Championship Game. A blind-draw will be conducted for bracket play with protection given to the first and second-place finishers from the 2018 USA Softball JO Cup.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 69 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million. USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch. USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships. The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.
As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.