Whether it’s a marriage, a career, or a hobby, to do anything for 62 years is an accomplishment.
To spend that time doing something where most people want to disagree with you, takes a special kind.
Softball umpire Glen Clow has decided to hang up his mask after 62 years of calling games in the rain, the heat, the cold, and sometimes during tournaments, 6-8 games in a day.
“I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said. “The camaraderie with my fellow umpires and coaches kept me going, along with the kids of course.”
Clow, 82, tried umpiring baseball but softball was what he loved the most. He started umpiring back was he was in the military in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
When an umpire earns a nickname, a lot of times it’s one you can’t repeat. Not the case for Papa Smurf.
“Yeh the kids gave me that nickname. I had a white beard at one time. During a game I was drinking a blue Gatorade and some of it stuck to my beard and the kids pointed at me and yelled Papa Smurf. I don’t mind it.”
Orangefield Coach Rebekah Ragsdale said, “It’s hard to imagine a softball field or complex without Papa Smurf. His love and passion for the game was evident, every pitch of every game. Some of my favorite games and memories growing up include him behind the plate or in the field. It always put a smile on my face seeing Glen Clow walking up to our field.”
Little Cypress-Maurceville softball coach Dena Adkins said, “I truly enjoyed Glen’s presence on the field. When I first moved back to Texas he was so kind to me and spoke with me for quite some time in between games. He has a great personality, sense of humor and his knowledge of the games and it’s rules is astounding. I will still go to him for questions should one arise. I will miss seeing him on the field but I know I will still see him around softball.”
Recently at a tournament in Beaumont, Clow was given a Hall of Fame type retirement ceremony from fellow umpire Dan Harris along with Velma Wappler and Theresa Bailey. Many current and former coaches and players came by and took time to tell Clow “Thanks.”
Harris, TASO District 9 Director, said, “The best thing I can say about Glen is that he umpired from 6U to Division I and he gave all the games the same effort, hustle and enthusiasm.”
Clow, who lives in Woodville, said he has five acres of land to keep him busy now but he will still be around the park as a mentor to new umpires. “We’re going to keep him busy,” said Harris. “He mentored all of us that are umpiring now. His experience is invaluable.”
-Gary Stelly, KOGT-