Advertisement

For Sunbright trio, umpiring is a family affair

For the Spurling family, softball is a family affair. Justan and his parents - Sandy and Richard - have a combined 80-plus years of refereeing experience in East Tennessee.
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 11:27 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - When you break them down, softball and baseball are games of threes: strikes, outs and - as it turns out - umpires.

For the Spurling family, softball is a family affair. Justan and his parents - Sandy and Richard - have a combined 80-plus years of refereeing experience in East Tennessee.

“They’ve been umpiring basically since I’ve been born and I followed them around and kept the scorebooks all the way through grade school and played a little ball in high school and I knew right when I graduated I’d be umpiring,” Justan said before settling in behind home plate during a district championship game at Roane State.

The Spurlings have dedicated countless nights away from each other in order to do what they love - and help to give back to area student-athletes.

“You teach the students and the athletes to live their life on the field the same manner that they’re going to live their life out in the real world,” says Sandy.

Time spent away from each other on the diamond comes full circle for the Spurlings, who use the extra money made officiating to take a vacation each summer.

“It’s paid my way through a little college and we use the money we make now to go on a family vacation every year,” said Justan.

Both the TSSAA and the Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association are in need of officials in all sports.

For more information on how to get involved in officiating, CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2021 WVLT. All rights reserved.