PACE, FL (WJHG/WECP) Talk about your missed, thanks to the pandemic, Bill Vikara knows that feling. In particular, one opportunity relating to the Little League World Series
Local ump missing out to call games at Williamsport this summer
As you may know, the folks who run that event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania made the announcement last week they were canceling the 2020 World Series along with other events they run, the like first softball Little League World Series. That the only choice given the environment in this country and around the world.
That announcement with a particular sting to a man in our area by the name of Bill Vikara, who for the last ten year has been umpiring youth baseball in Destin, Freeport, South Walton, among other areas.
You see Bill had been chosen to be an umpire in this year's Series in Williamsport, that opportunity, at least for now, is passing him by.
I spoke with Bill about that, starting with how one gets to be chosen to call games in the Series to begin with.
"Well Little League is an all volunteer organization so when I started back in 2009 it was all volunteer." Bill explained. "So I kept volunteering and going to training. And every year I put in for a regional assignment. I got my regional assignment in 2015, went to Warner Robbins, Georgia. Performed well there, performed well enough to get a World Series recommendation for that Tournament, and have been putting in ever since. And was fortunate enough to be selected."
So getting selected is quite the honor, and something to look forward to, especially for an umpire who has given so much of himself to youth baseball the past decade!
"So yes sir yeah, it's a little disappointing, but a little understandable with the current situation in the country. But I think, not so much for me but for the kids. I mean you're only 12 years old once, so you only really have one shot to go to Williamsport when you're that age. So for me, if it works out well enough, I can go next year. But I really feel bad for the players."
Bill says he will in fact apply again and hopefully next summer he'll spend some time in Williamsport. Even though the process is not an easy one to go through.
"And our district here in Florida encompasses from the Alabama border, just west of Pensacola here, basically to the east side of Panama City." Bill says "So you submit paper work to your D.A. and he sends it up to the region office. And if you're qualified to do a World Series they'll submit your paper work to Williamsport. The Committee at Williamsport will look at and they select people based on years of service and basically scores at regional tournaments."
So why do it, it certainly isn't because he's making any money at this?
"Well I mean for one, it's giving back to the community for me. I played Little League baseball growing up I love the atmosphere and really I love seeing the kids play, from year to year and throughout the season. So for me I just enjoy it."
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