Since moving to Kuwait, it seems like we have so much more free time on our hands, to just relax, enjoy hobbies, hang with friends, etc. We are no longer homeowners, who are constantly working on renovations, mowing the grass, or chipping away at the “Honey Do List.” While I miss tinkering in my old garage, my free time here has allowed me to do some things in my life that I have always wanted to do, but couldn’t ever find the time. One of those things, is umpiring Little League Baseball!
Before moving here, I read online about the Kuwait Little League. I sent an email, and before I knew it, I was attending my first Umpire Clinic of the season. The unique thing about the league over here, is that the season runs from September to March. Baseball players are always known as the “Boys of Summers,” however since it is so hot here, they play their season during the (cooler) winter months.
The Kuwait Little League is just like any league you would find back in North America. There is multiple age divisions ranging from T-Ball to Seniors Baseball. This year I chose to umpire the Majors Division (ages 11-12). I would estimate that about 60% of the players and coaches are expats from countries other than Kuwait (U.S. Canada, Australia, Venezuela, etc.) Teams practice twice a week, with games on Fridays.
The Little League Complex here is gorgeous, and opened just a few years ago. There are 4 fields for T-ball, Minors, Majors, and Seniors. There are lots of common areas, an office, playground, multiple batting cages, and 3 concession stands! One of them sells your typical concession food (hotdogs, hamburgers, popcorn, candy, etc.), there is also a coffee shop, and the other is a Taco Bell! Yes, after a long day of umpiring, you can grab a chalupa and some cinamon twists!
I have a ton of fun umpiring and have met some great people. It is a very close knit community among the players, coaches, and umpires. The thing I enjoy most is watching the kids develop their skills during the course of the season. Back in September, there were a lot of walks and not much action in the games. However the players have come a long way this season, just in time for the upcoming tournaments which begin in a few weeks.
This year we are sending a Majors All-Star team to a tournament in the Phillipines, Dubai, and they will also play in our national tournament here in Kuwait at the beginning of March. I have already been asked to umpire in the tournaments, which I’m pretty excited about. They typically pay for your flights, hotels, food, and compensate you for each game. I’m hopeful that I can make them fit into my schedule, because I would love to go.
In addition to umpiring Little League Baseball, I also umpired some softball games for the adult league. From September to December, Kuwait Little League offered an Adult Softball League, and we had 16 teams register. It is a co-rec league, and I had a ton of fun. I would usually do 4 games a night, and got to know a ton of people. I’m hoping next year that I can join a team to play with too!
Kuwait Little League is a great organization to be a part of, and I’m so glad that I was able to get involved with them. It has become a part of my weekly routine, every Friday I head to the ballpark. A lot of our students also play in the league, so it is fun to see them playing a game that I enjoyed so much as a part of my childhood.