Getting a chance to compete in the Little League World Series is the ultimate for most young athletes.
But the same can be said for those chosen to make the calls.
“What an honor,” said Sharon Adams, who was one of 12 selected to umpire last week at the Junior Softball Little League World Series in Kirkland, Washington.
Adams, of Crestview, has called on most every ball field in the Florida District 1 Little League Association, from Destin to Baker and every Little League ball field in between.
“It’s amazing that she does it,” said Destin Little League Association president Howard Wortman.
Adams usually calls games in Destin at least one night a week.
“She’s good with the girls,” Wortman said.
Plus if Adams is umpiring on the field, Wortman said he has nothing to worry about.
“She’s got it all under control,” he said.
Adams has been making the calls on the field for more than 20 years.
She started out in Baker, at the urging of her brother.
And from 2000 to about 2014 she served as Assistant District Administrator for Softball in the area.
“I helped to run the program,” she said.
However, she prefers being on the field and making the calls.
“I like being with the children and helping them to meet their goals,” she said, adding she likes to teach them respect and discipline as well.
All umpires in the Little League Association are volunteers.
“Hopefully, (the kids) will see that we volunteer and they’ll give back to their community one day,” she said. “I’m so glad my brother got me involved.”
Last week, Adams made it to the big league. She called 14 games at the World Series in Washington and met teams from places such as the Netherlands, Puerto Rica and the Philippines.
“I had an absolute blast and I learned a lot,” said the 63-year-old Okaloosa County native.
Adams was the only female to put on the umpire uniform.
“They treated me well,” she said of the other umpires. “A blue’s a blue.”
Adams said by the time the World Series was over; the group of umpires was like family, eating out and such.
However, making the World Series as an umpire is a challenge.
“It’s not an easy process. It’s a lot of work,” Adams said. “But if that’s your goal if you can do it.”
Not only do the umpires have to be recommended, but they are evaluated on a points system.
For Adams, she started the process to umpire at the Regional level in 2007.
She got her first chance on the upper level in 2009 in West Virginia. Then in 2011 she umpired at the Regional’s in Fort Meyers, then 2013 at Warner Robins, Georgia, and in 2015 back to Fort Meyers.
This year was the biggest stage yet.
“It was a really big honor to be able to represent the district, region and our state,” Adams said. “Every body was so supportive.
“It’s one of the most blessed things God has given me,” added Adams, a dual cancer survivor.
What’s next for Adams, who works as a court security screener at the Okaloosa County Courthouse in Fort Walton Beach?
“I’ll continue (umpiring) as long as my body holds up,” she said. “I want to go to regional’s in Poland, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico and Australia. … Those are on my bucket list.”