USA Softball of Ohio makes a dream a reality for 15-year-old aspiring umpire Michael Potter

Dec. 13, 2019, 12:11 p.m. (ET)

USA Softball of Ohio Umpire Mike Burwell and Commissioner Warren Jones named Michael Potter an honorary USA Softball Umpire after noticing his countless hours of admirable dedication and enjoyment for our sport. 

Michael, who has lived with Hydrocephalus and a shunt since infancy, gained a deep love for softball when he was six years old as he grew up watching his sister play in tournaments. He quickly took an interest with the umpires and began picking up their every move as well as the rules of the game. As time progressed, Michael took a step further into his love for umpiring and began setting up behind the backstop, counter in hand, while calling his own balls and strikes! 

“His love for this sport and respect for the umpires involved is really something special,” said his mother, Julie Potter. “He loves to introduce himself to the umpires before the game … ‘Hey blue! I’m Mikey, if you need any help, I am here!’ … It’s special to watch.”

One afternoon at a tournament, Michael became very ill and was rushed to the hospital where it was determined that his shunt was failing and was quickly sent into an emergency surgery. After the surgery, Michael spent a few days in the hospital but was mainly concerned with how quickly he could return to the softball fields to take back his spot behind the backstop –– and he did just that. Following his smooth and quick recovery, Michael quickly packed up his things and headed back to the softball fields to cheer on his sister and, of course, keep an eye on the umpires!

“It was that day that his dreams came true,” said his mother.

Mike Burwell and Warren Jones of USA Softball of Ohio met Michael at the fields and named him an honorary USA Softball Umpire –– making a dream a reality for Michael. He was given USA Softball umpire gear that he quickly changed into without any hesitation. With large bandages and stitches still on his head from his recent surgery, Michael ripped off his hat and quickly replaced it with his new USA Softball Umpire hat, threw on his Umpire gear (pouch and all) and was ready to play ball!

“What a moment that was for him and for all of us,” said his mother. “He slept in the gear that night, wore it to the field the next day, wore it to school and continued to get in full gear for the remainder of fall softball games.”

Michael’s love for our sport never goes unnoticed. Along with this special moment, Michael has also been given the opportunity to do the coin flip and dust off the plate at a USA Softball tournament in Cleveland, Ohio. Each experience Michael has been given will be cherished forever, but the feeling of being called “Blue” in his USA Softball Umpire gear is a memory to last a lifetime.