Originally published June 7, 2017 at 12:00a.m., updated June 7, 2017 at 12:00a.m.
Editor’s note: Bruce Parker is a resident of the Hood River Valley. In addition to his officiating duties at local sporting events, Parker is also the chaplain at Horizon Christian School and is pastor of Faith Bible Church in Hood River.
Celebrating his 40th year as an umpire, Bruce Parker was selected as the plate umpire for Saturday’s 5A State Softball Championship game at the Oregon State University Complex in Corvallis between Dallas and Marist Catholic (Marist won 12-7).
Parker, the former president of the Mid-Columbia Umpires Association, will get his first shot at officiating a title contest, joining a long list of his brethren to earn such a distinction.
He joins Eddie Edmo, Robert Jamack, Tim Clemenson, and Bill Mead, to name a few, as MCUA representatives to umpire championship matchups.
“This is an honor and a privilege that I will never forget,” Parker said. “I am thankful to all who have helped me become a qualified official in a variety of different sports.”
In his four decades of service, Parker has officiated baseball and softball games at all levels, from coast-to-coast, as he began his career on the little league diamond as a member of the South Shore Umpires Association in Massachusetts.
Over that span, there have been many snapshot moments he holds close to his heart.
“With the permission of both coaches, I was calling balls and strikes with my brother Steve on the mound for Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts,” Parker said. “Another memorable highlight was serving as a substitute umpire for the Cape Cod League, one of the premier summer leagues for MLB scouts and college players.”
Parker has also served as an ASA softball umpire in both slow and fast-pitch leagues and currently enjoys the OSAA high school fast-pitch game.
While Parker earned his stripes initially in Massachusetts, he has worked the dish for associations in the Chicago area, the Baltimore/Washington corridor, Binghamton, NY, Sacramento, Calif., and has spent the last 10 years with the Mid-Columbia Umpires Association in The Dalles.
In addition to baseball and softball, Parker serves the Mid-Columbia area as a football official and basketball referee.
Through this experience, Parker said that he is blessed to be able to help contribute to the high school sports programs in the area.
As many of the long-time officials ride off into the sunset over time, Parker and his fellow officials in the Mid-Columbia region, say that parents, friends, sports fans and everyone in the surrounding communities should consider serving the Greater Columbia Gorge as an umpire, referee, or football official for the preservation of local sports.
The rewards are plentiful, and just the aspect of playing a pivotal role in these local athletes’ lives cannot be understated.
The MCUA is willing to train and equip individuals with all the necessary tools to be successful.
“The hardest part about being a sports official is hearing the complaints from coaches, players, and fans who might be right, but the keys to overcoming their criticisms are to work hard, know the rules, hustle, learn from every game and set all emotions aside,” Parker added. “Experience is always the best teacher.”
For more information on joining the MCUA, call commissioner Bob Ford at 541-980-4165 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The band Planet Fly plays at Pfriem in an outdoor concert. Enlarge