John Bell un-packs his umpire bag at the Port Jervis New York Little League complex. Bell covers games here at night. It's where his dad Frank first showed him the game of baseball. Now John after 28 years behind the plate makes his first trip to South Williamsport to umpire in the Little League
"It was just a very brief letter saying that Don Soucy who is the East Region President of Little League Baseball had recommended us and recommended me to Williamsport. I was one of 16 umpires from around the world and three from the East Region so it's quite an honor," said John Bell.
Bell earned his stripes over the last twenty years to get this call.
"You have to be thrilled? It's unbelievable. It's a dream come true. It's something I've thought about for over 20 years and I've worked towards doing district all-star games, sectional all-star games, state tournaments and then eventually I did a World Series for girl's softball. It's called Big League 16, 17, 18-year-old girl's. I did that in 2002 in Kalamazoo Michigan and that was another hurdle and then they say it's 10 years after that before you get the call for Williamsport," again said John.
Once the Little League World Series gets started in August-John will be one of 16 umpires from around the world working the Friday thru Wednesday games. At the completion of the games Wednesday night Little League officials will determine the final 6 umpires to work those championship games and into the weekend.
"We have the same excitement as umpires as the kids do, and at the coaches do. The beauty we have is that we have more time to prepare for it," added John.
As the Superintendent of the Delaware Valley School District John is around kids all day long. He loves teaching whether it's here or in the classroom.
"Anytime you work with kids you have the same challenges and the same excitement. I love this working with the boy's after school here and even working with the girl's in girl's softball, because it gives them a chance to know me more. It's hard when you're the superintendent in a district of 5,000 kids for everybody to get to know you," again said John.
John has the support from both sides of the Delaware, and they plan on being in South Williamsport to cheer him on.