Remember the Cyndi Lauper classic “Girls Just Want to Have Fun?”
Change the title to “Guys Just Want to Have Fun” and you could be singing about Payson Men’s Golf Association members.
That’s because, they do revel in fun and games as evidenced by past seasons highlighted by tournaments, traveling, 19th hole celebrations, closest to the pin contests, awards banquets and plenty of good-natured ribbing.
The enjoyment of golf with friends is among the reasons longtime member Herb Sherman, a retired high school teacher and basketball coach, is issuing an invitation to join the PMGA for the 2013 season.
“All types of golfers are invited to join and enjoy the camaraderie of playing every Wednesday morning at Payson Golf Course,” Sherman said.
Prospective members may pick up registration forms at the PGC pro shop. Registration fee for the season, which begins in March and continues through October, is $62.
The 2013 season tees off at 7 a.m. March 13 with a breakfast and four-man scramble tournament.
After that, it’s Katie-bar-the-door as members hit the course, “To sing of good days left behind and raise a glass to better times.”
Finding sufficient baseball and softball umpires is not a problem unique to Payson High School.
Only a few years ago, Mary McMullen — then the town’s recreation coordinator — had to put out an urgent all call to round up the umpires she needed for men’s and women’s recreation leagues.
After much searching, coupled with a bit of pleading, she finally found the minimum number of umpires she needed to adequately host the leagues.
PHS Athletic Director Don Heizer can identify with McMullen’s predicament, because he’s now facing the same dilemma.
“Right now, we don’t have the officials we need,” Heizer said late last week.
Many of the umpires needed in Payson will be for junior varsity games, of which there will be about 11 each in both baseball and softball. Most games are played on weekday afternoons after school is dismissed.
Of course, umpires can also be asked to travel to other nearby towns and cities to officiate prep games.
The pay for regular-season games, $25 for non-varsity games and $50 for varsity, is set by the Arizona Interscholastic Association. Umpires can also receive mileage fees for travel to and from games.
Umpires, however, are responsible for buying their own officiating uniforms.
Around the state, especially in the urban areas, some umpires are limited to only a few games each season. But in the Rim Country, Heizer emphasizes, there will be ample opportunities to officiate both baseball and softball.
To umpire, candidates must be 18 years of age, not in high school, and register with the AIA.
They must also have a strong knowledge of baseball and softball and, probably most importantly, personal integrity.
AIA officials stress that high school coaches and athletes consider games the most important thing occurring in their lives at the time, which umpires — if their goal is to be successful — must also do. Umpires must also have a healthy dose of self-confidence and a strong presence on the field to go along with a love of athletics and young people.
While umpiring and officiating can be a rewarding profession, it is not for everyone and requires some personal adjustments, mostly because quick decisions must be made and they often don’t please everybody.
The AIA points out that umpires are hugely important because they play a vital role in the success of interscholastic athletic programs and the student athletes they serve.
For more information on umpiring, call Heizer at (928) 474-2233 or log on to the AIA website at www.aiaonline.org/officials/become _official.php.