Blue Convention Softball Canada, Montreal, April 18-20, 2019

Last year I received an invitation from Softball Canada to attend their 10th Blue Convention, to be held in Montreal. I had heard enthusiastic reports from umpires and UiC colleagues that had been to previous editions of this event so I did not hesitate to accept this invitation.

There were around 250 umpires and umpire leaders attending, the majority from the various Canadian provinces but also some international umpires. From Europe Thomas Lohnert, Galip Soenmez and Florian Lautenschlaeger (WBSC umpires) and Chris Moon (UiC Slowpitch) were also there.

The main theme of the convention was ‘It starts with you’. Meaning ‘Change starts with you, but it doesn’t start until you do’. We have been to pre-convention clinics on instructing and evaluating umpires and also many sessions and workshops on subjects such as:

- Evaluation of umpires, best practices 
- Excellence vs Success, about personal development
- Base and plate mechanics
- The mystery of rules
- Let your diamond presence shine
- Game management
- Fitness & Wellness

I was impressed by the quality, content and variety of the sessions and clinics and the knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication of the instructors. Lots of valuable information, almost too much to digest, which will be shared with us by Softball Canada.

Also I had meetings with some umpire leaders in our sport: Bob Stanton, Director of Umpires WBSC SD, on WBSC subjects relating to my role as RUC (Regional Umpire Coordinator) and as AUiC in the two WBSC events that I will attend this year, the U19 Women’s Worlds in Irvine, California and the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifier in Shanghai. Jeff Whipple, Director of Umpires Softball Canada on the exchange program between Softball Canada and Softball Europe. Various international umpires and umpires in chief who have represented or still represent their country at the World level.

The  main benefit of attending this convention was getting new ideas and inspiration on how to run a presentation or a clinic. Not only about the content but also the methods used to bring information across in a professional way. Another benefit that I got out of this convention was gaining new ideas on organising our next Blue Convention for Softball Europe. And last but not least the opportunity to talk face to face with many umpire leaders of our sport.

I want to say thanks to Softball Canada for their support and continued partnership. And thank you Softball Europe, for the opportunity to attend this inspiring Blue Convention.

Carolien Stadhouders
Director of Umpires Softball Europe