Women in Blue, by Lisa Schreihart, March 9, 2012

(hover over the coins to see both sides)
Women in Blue Ump Women in Blue Mask
These Women in Blue umpire flipping coins were designed by SportPins to my specifications in 2011. I wanted to design a coin that honored women umpires who work at any age level, in softball and in baseball, and that would encourage more women to take up the avocation of umpiring. My inspiration for these coins came after I read Pam Postema's autobiography about her baseball umpiring experience, "You've Got to Have Balls to Make It in This League." The book is about 20 years old, but it is pertinent today. In the book, Pam tells her story of moving up in the minor baseball leagues, her trials and tribulations about being a women in a traditionally man's world, the behind-the-scenes hardships of being a low-paid and over-worked minor league umpire in general, and her experience being "this close" to making it to the Big Leagues. (She did work a major league exhibition Hall of Fame game behind the plate!)  I don't personally know any women who have had the experiences that she's had, but I know that, depending on where we umpire, we could be the only female umpire in the group, or one of a group of women representing only 5 to 20% of the umpires. We are the few and the proud. We love our brothers, but I think most of us also love to represent the female minority and be good female role models to the girls who are playing the game. My wish is that there would be more female umpires in the game and that the players today will want to become umpires tomorrow. It's a great way to stay in the game that we love.

These coins have been distributed in person and by mail around the nation to ASA, USSSA, NFHS, NCAA, NAIA, and NAFA umpires and even internationally to ISF umpires in Colombia, Venezuela, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Through the distribution of these coins, I have made some friends who I hope to meet and work with someday. And down in North Carolina, where a women's baseball Friendship Series was going on last summer (all women's national team baseball players from the USA and Canada!), I sent a bunch of coins to be distributed to the all-women umpire crew and other women baseball umpires in Canada (where most of the crew hailed from). Who knew this Friendship Series with women baseball players even existed?! Simply, the coins put smiles on faces, because they are a pat on the back and recognition of who we are - umpires and women - which may seem simple to some, but is a great source of pride to many. The coins sometimes also find their way into a softball player's hands, at times when pins are being traded and a few kids would come up and say, "Hey blue, got anything to trade?"  "Well, yes, I do!"  And eyes would light up. To these kids, I'd say: "Please consider becoming an umpire." And last but not least, for the coin collectors, men or women, since these coins are one-of-a-kind unique, people see them as a gem in their collection. Several male umpires have asked for one, and I'm thrilled to give a coin to them also. If anyone wants one, please let me know at iowalisa@juno.com, or if you want a bunch to distribute to a group of umpires (or recruits or trainees), I will also sell them at cost. I've not even been distributing these for a year yet, and I've already gone through about 280 coins!  Why not keep getting them out there?   :-D