Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/289

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Some remarks on umpiring are very necessary for the beginner in cricket. Many boys are called upon during the various games they play at the public and other schools to stand as umpires; and seeing that umpiring tests the skill, knowledge, and common-sense of some of the oldest and most experienced hands who perform this duty in the big games of the year, it must follow that similar tasks will prove rather difficult for young players who are scarcely out of their teens. I know from my own experience that umpires come in for a considerable amount of abuse and hardly any thanks for the work they do. It is the old story of more kicks than halfpence.

There can be no doubt that umpiring gives scope for and encourages some desirable qualities among boys. When they stand as umpires at the wicket they learn to fix their attention upon some definite object; for they have to watch the game closely and steadfastly if they are to give their decisions with even fair correctness upon disputed points. They learn presence of mind, the power of thinking on the spot, and of deciding quickly and confidently. Moreover, the task helps them to cultivate a sense of fairness and impartiality; it enables them to learn the rules of the game thoroughly; and although some of the more intricate points that arise can only be properly thought out and properly decided by experienced players, an early training in the task of umpiring does boys an immense amount of good so far as their career in cricket is concerned, by giving them an intimate knowledge of the game. I sometimes wish I had stood umpire myself more often during my early cricket-