Valley’s Clinton Harvey has worked many high-profile fastpitch tournaments in Canada and the U.S. Thursday, he leaves for Winnipeg where he will umpire at the Canada Summer Games.
©Joey Smith/Truro Daily News
TRURO, N.S. – When Clinton Harvey started umpiring 22 years ago, he was just looking to put a little cash in his pocket while staying involved in a game he loved.
Never in his wildest dreams did he envision himself calling balls and strikes at some of the biggest softball tournaments in the world.
“I got to work an eastern Canadian my third or fourth year and that was a huge thrill and I never thought I’d get much more than that,” said Harvey, who grew up in Brooklyn, Hants County and now calls Valley home.
But as Harvey developed as umpire, he received opportunities to call the game at the highest levels. Today, his resume includes working eight national championships, an ISC world event, a junior girls’ world tournament and even a European men’s championship in Italy.
“It’s just been great,” said Harvey, 36, a principal at Cobequid District Elementary School in Noel. “I’ve had a lot of luck and lots of people who have helped me out.”
Harvey, one of a handful of Level 5 umpires in Nova Scotia, will work another top-flight tournament, beginning Saturday when he calls men’s fastpitch softball at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.
And while he has umped at bigger tournaments, he especially looks forward to the Canada Games and seeing talented, young athletes who are part of Softball Canada’s future.
“Every province’s best 17 players; it’s players that we’re probably going to see at the men’s Canadian championship in a few years or in the national team pool,” he said.
Another neat aspect of the Games, says Harvey, is being able to meet and talk shop with fellow umpires and other officials from other sports.
Harvey admits to being a huge fan of softball. He grew up playing fastpitch in St. Croix, Hants County and developed a passion for the game at a young age. He first got involved in umpiring when he was 14 on the advice of a teacher.
“It was just another way to be involved in the game,” he said.
Darren Gerrior, acting provincial umpire-in-chief, said Harvey has developed into one the finest umpires in not only Nova Scotia, but in Canada.
“Clinton’s a very capable umpire; he’s one of our leaders in the province,” said Gerrior. “He’s played the game and he understands it. The players respect him and he knows how to communicate and he doesn’t seem to get himself in a lot of hot water.”
Following Canada Games, Harvey will attend the national under-18 men’s championship in August in O’Leary, P.E.I., where he will supervise others as the deputy-umpire-in-chief.
The ability to defuse hot situations
TRURO – Clinton Harvey says umpiring has taught him patience, composure, and the ability to read people and defuse potentially explosive situations.
Like any umpire, the way he sees the game isn’t always the way players and coaches see it.
One particular incident when his skills were tested came at the 2012 national senior men’s fastpitch championship in Fredericton.
“I had the host team against Kitchener and we were in extra innings and I had a close call at the plate that I called obstruction … And the guy was just screaming at me, and I let him go for a little bit and I finally said, ‘Are you here to just scream at me or do you want the explanation?’ And that calmed him right down, and I told him exactly what happened and he kind of looked at me and said, ‘yeah, that’s how it happened,’ and he turned around and went back to the dugout.”