GREENVILLE – David McCartney, part owner of Greenville’s Dairy King has a unique relationship with the youth of Darke County and western Ohio.
McCartney wears two hats, one as an employer of many high school students and athletes, and one of an Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) umpire.
“They’re all teenagers,” said McCartney. “They’re going to do some fantastic things and they’re going to do some things that you scratch your head and wonder holy cow what is going on here, but for the most part all the girls that we have here (Dairy King) are fantastic. They work real hard, they don’t call off, don’t miss shifts. We have been really fortunate since we opened last year in January.”
McCartney is in his sixth season as an OHSAA official, but has 26 year of officiating under his belt.
“I started back in the early ‘90s out in California when I was in the Marines,” McCartney said. “When I moved back to Ohio I started officiating just summer league and rec ball. I finally decided to take my test and get my license to officiate OHSAA high school baseball.”
One can often hear the athletes on the Darke County ball diamonds jokingly telling the admired umpire they will be stopping in for free ice cream at his local business.
“Once I walk on the field its business,” McCartney noted. “I am not partial to any one person. Even if they know me … they know I will ring them up at the plate on a strike three or punch them out on a bang-bang play at first, so there is no favoritism anywhere. Some of them do tease me or give me a hard time about the ice cream store and it’s all in good fun.”
Unlike most sports, softball and baseball cover the gamut of weather with the games starting before the arrival of spring. The high school schedule is often played on cold, rainy, and windy nights with occasional snow and sleet and by summer the temperatures often soar well into the 90’s while reaching the century mark on occasion.
“I am not a fan of the cold weather anymore the older I get,” chuckled McCartney. “I would rather work in 35-40 degree temperatures than two years ago when I worked the Summer Nationals for Triple Crown at Myrtle Beach.”
“We took the field at eight o’clock in the morning for our first game of the day and our heat index was already at 115 … ended up being 132 for the day,” said McCartney. “By the end of the fourth game with the gear on behind the play you’re absolutely miserable, so I’ll choose the cooler weather than I will the heat.”
McCartney belongs to the Darke County Umpires Association and the West Central Ohio Umpires Association.
The Darke County Umpires Association is run by Dave Henry,” said McCartney. “Dave and I are really good friends and is a good guy to work for.”
“I work for West Central Ohio Umpire’s Association run by Jim Heatherly, Sam Spano and Daren Brown,” continued McCartney. “You couldn’t ask for better guys to work for. These guys are fantastic. They try and keep you close to home but you can set your limits on how far you will drive. I opened mine up. I like to see different programs.”
McCartney keeps busy umpiring a high school schedule from mid-March through mid-May
before summer leagues start up keeping the Greenville umpire busy through the end of November while working fall tournaments.
As with all OHSAA officials, McCartney encourages men and women alike to get involved with Ohio High School Athletic Association officiating.
“Right now there is a shortage of umpires (all sports) across the state,” said McCartney. “If you love the game of baseball … the crucial thing it is umpiring for the game. I don’t do it for the money, I do it for the love of the game.”
“I’ve loved the game of baseball since I was a kid,” McCartney shared. “They’re always looking for umpires.”
“If you are interested you can stop by the Dairy King (805 Martin Street, Greenville, OH) and I’ll guide you in the right direction … get you into a clinic or a class this winter and be officiating baseball as early as next spring.”
“Our association has a clinic run by Steve Kirby,” added McCartney. “He’s an amazing umpire and the classes are usually in January. Take the classes, then take your test to get your license and you can work anywhere from 20 games to 100 games your first season.”
Often college students officiate summer ball to supplement college expenses. “It’s good summer money,” McCartney noted.
“Stop by and see us at the Dairy King,” McCartney said with a smile. “We’re open seven days a week and we have some pretty good ice cream.”
PHOTO CAPTION: OHSAA umpire David McCartney makes a call at home plate (Gaylen Blosser photo)