I have been an Umpire for about 15 years. A few years back, I had the pleasure to be on the umpire team for the inaugural U18 Canadian championship. During the week, we had one team that the skip’s actions on the ice were less than admirable. He had a temper, and his communication with his teammates was less than desirable, and we had to intervene a few times. He was a challenge.
The following year, I was on the umpiring team again, for the same championship. In reviewing the list of teams, I noticed that the same team was back again. We were anticipating similar conduct from this individual. Much to our surprise, he had matured, a lot!
He was so much more composed on the ice, his communication with his teammates was positive, and we didn’t have to speak to this team once during the championship. Once it was all over, I felt I had to say something to him, so I did. I told him how proud I was of the young man he had become, and that everyone on the umpiring team had noticed the level of maturity he now had.
He was so moved by my words, and appreciative that I had spoken to him. He had tears in his eyes and asked if he could have hug, he brought tears to my eyes as well. Watching these young men and women grow from year to year, and now watch some of them playing in the Scotties and Brier is very rewarding. They are the future of our great sport!