Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Douglas College student shines behind the plate

Douglas College student and Level 4 umpire Laura MacMillan (right) keeps her eye on the ball.

Douglas College softball player Laura MacMillan is in a league of her own.

At 20 years of age, Coquitlam’s MacMillan is the youngest person in Canada to hold Level 4 certification from the Softball Canada. Next week, she heads to St. John, New Brunswick to officiate at the 2010 Canadian Midget Girls Fastpitch Championships, which run August 1 to 8.

“It’s exciting,” said the third-year Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching student. “Softball is a social sport and I’m looking forward to meeting and working with new people there and taking part in such a high-level competition.”

The multisport MacMillan - she also competes in soccer, judo and wrestling - first donned the umpire’s mask six years ago.

“I’ve played softball since I was four and I decided to start officiating the sports I enjoy to make a little money, since my parents didn’t want me to have a paper route,” she recalls.

Like many amateur sports officials, the soft-spoken MacMillan has had her share of run-ins with irate players and coaches.

“It can get pretty intense,” she says. “I’ve never had to throw anyone out of a game, but I’ve had to send grown men back to their dugouts.”

MacMillan knows bringing her own level of intensity is a big part of her job as an umpire.

“You need to be decisive, have a good knowledge of all the rules, be confident and be really loud,” she says. “I love the adrenalin rush I get when making a call and getting it right.”

In addition to her trip to the Maritimes, MacMillan is also looking forward to the new varsity softball season at Douglas.

The Royals women’s softball squad begins its inaugural season in the North Division of the North West Athletics Association of Community Colleges (NWAAC) this fall, with MacMillan behind the plate, this time as catcher.