The offseason is normally a time when an athlete likes to unwind, clear their mind and take a break from the game that they spend countless hours preparing for both mentally and physically.
But for Nan and Meg Gatlin, when they aren’t helping to lead the Parklane Pioneers softball team, they spend their offseason still entrenched in the game they love so much.
In addition to preparing for the 2019 season where the Pioneers will be looking to repeat as MAIS AAAA State Champions, the sisters spend their summers working as umpires in the Dixie Youth softball league at the Windsor Gay Youth Complex in Summit. The girls umpire softball games in the 7-8 year old age group.
The decision in wanting to do this spurned from something they noticed when they were at that age.
“We knew that since we played in this league when we were this age, we knew that there were umpires that were 15 or 16 years old so our mom was like ‘Y’all need to go out and get a job’,” Meg said. “So we said that we need to go umpire in Summit because we like softball and we thought that would be fun, (and) because we like the little kids too.”
Nan echoes this saying that, like Meg, she is interested in seeing the young players develop their games to potentially be where they are today in playing varsity softball in high school. She is especially curious to see some potential future Pioneers.
“I like to see the girls that I know go to Parklane because I graduate next year and then they are going to be coming up on the team,” she said. “I like to see what’s coming on Parklane for sure.”
They both say that getting the chance to watch the young girls play may lead them to follow in their father Greg’s footsteps and become softball coaches.
But umpiring at the little league level provides them with a different aspect of the softball and keeps them around the game that they love.
“Since it is the offseason, we work out during school and when we come home, we don’t have anything to do so when we have umpiring, we look forward to getting the chance to watch them play.”