top of page
  • Writer's pictureMickey Carolan

Don't Be A Knucklehead – 3 Lessons from an Umpire's Kid

Good Morning My Friends,

A 70-degree day in February, the state umpire clinic recap, and photos from college softball spring games all filled my social media feed this week. And it served as a prompt to share 3 Lessons from an Umpire's Kid.


Remember those perfect afternoons at the ballpark? The sun's shining, the hotdogs taste amazing, and your favorite team's on a winning streak. Then... some loudmouth in the crowd decides to ruin it for everyone shouting "Hey Blue, are you blind?".

Look, heckling has become a part of sports. We all get frustrated when a call doesn't go our way. But it's those knuckleheads who take it too far that make everyone's experience miserable.

My Dad, the Deaf Umpire

My dad was an umpire for over 30 years. He loved the game, but those hecklers by home plate? They seemed to relish making fun of his calls. What they didn't know was that my dad was Deaf...he couldn't hear a single word of their abuse! It was infuriating for me and my sister.

But Dad was in control. He knew the hecklers were there, and he knew how to handle them. Officiating was one of his equalizers – it's where he found respect and a place to thrive in a world designed for hearing folks. I still tear up thinking about the pride in his eyes when he celebrated 20 years with the MHSAA.

Respect on the Field (and in Life)

I don't always agree with the officials at the games I watch, but you'll NEVER see me acting a fool. Why? Because I saw what my dad endured, and how that kind of nastiness cuts deep. Officials work hard, and just like anyone else, they deserve a little respect.

Sadly, a lot of folks thinking about officiating bail within a few years because of those heckling knuckleheads. That's a huge problem! Sports need passionate officials with guts.

But here's the thing about knuckleheads - they aren't just at the ballpark. They're everywhere, making life tough for no good reason. A lot of them don't even realize what they're doing because they lack self-awareness and empathy.

The Anti-Knucklehead Playbook

We can all learn from my dad. Here's the thing, you don't want to be THAT person in the stands. Don't be a knucklehead! Here's how:

  1. Think before you react: Words matter, so choose them carefully. Imagine how they'd feel landing on your ears.

  2. Walk a mile in their shoes: Put yourself in other people's shoes. Would what you're about to say hurt, frustrate, or embarrass them?

  3. Take responsibility: Everyone messes up. Own your mistakes, apologize, and find a way to make it right.

Today, I want you to do two things:

  1. Notice the Knuckleheads: Are they in your life? Are you sometimes acting like one without realizing it?

  2. Spread the Anti-Knucklehead Word: Share this message. Let's encourage people to be more mindful of how their words and actions affect others.

We can all make sports (and life!) more enjoyable by ditching the knucklehead attitude.

Never take a called third strike,


P.S Let's all try and raise the next generation with more empathy. Sports should be fun for everyone—players, officials, and fans alike! Want more stories and insights like this? You can find them in my book Mom Dad Not Hear


This week's recommendation is fresh off my nightstand and wow is it powerful! I'm so grateful it was shared with me by a friend. Click on the photo to grab your copy!

Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page