Passion for sports: Wapak youth umpires, involved on many teams

For two days, nearly 50 teams played at Veterans Memorial Park — with the top teams coming back on Sunday to determine the winners of the 2012 Moon City Classic.

Keeping the teams in line between the lines are the umpires, including  Wapakoneta High School senior Kyle Gibson. The others range from classmates such as Joel Hegemier and Nathan Bracy to OHSAA certified umpires Brian Schoonover, Mike Sparks, Micah Shoup and Mark Maus.

For Gibson, 17, the enjoyment stems from having a connection with the program. The Wapakoneta High School senior played baseball from t-ball through Pony League at the park and he later played two years in the Wapakoneta High School baseball program.

“I think it is fun to be around baseball and if I am going to do a job then I certainly want it to be something I enjoy doing and I really enjoy baseball,” Gibson said. “I also enjoy watching the kids compete. It is just a really enjoyable job to have and I don’t think I would want a job at a fast-food restaurant. I really like being outdoors and helping to develop the kids as ball players.”

The son of Corinna and Mark Gibson received his baseball tutelage under his father, who coached his baseball teams through the Little League ranks just as his father did for his younger brother, Cameron, 13. Kyle Gibson then went on to play for the Wapakoneta Redskins’ freshman and junior varsity teams before switching to track this past spring.

He wanted to work on his speed and quickness.

Gibson also started concentrating on his football and basketball skills more. He plays quarterback for the Wapakoneta Redskins football team and is a defensive specialist on the Wapakoneta Redskins basketball team.

“I like playing football because I like being under the Friday night lights and the pressure that comes with it,” Gibson said. “I just like playing quarterback and I like passing the ball.”

He started playing quarterback and safety during his Wapakoneta Middle School days. Coaches took advantage of the baseball pitcher’s arm strength at quarterback.

Gibson played wide receiver and tight end prior to that because of his height.

His goal for the football team this year is to win a Western Buckeye League title and a state championship for his teammates and coach Doug Frye.

This past summer he attended two quarterback camps — one at Bowling Green State University and one through Notre Dame. He said there were five quarterbacks at the Notre Dame camp and the two college quarterbacks were more advanced then he and the two other high school quarterbacks — but it gives him perspective and a goal to shoot for now.

Gibson said he would love to attend Bowling Green State University or the University of Toledo and play for their football teams, but he believes his chances are better to play at the Division II or Division III level.

“I definitely want to do something with sports management or something with business,” said Gibson, who said his favorite class is math and his favorite teacher is Kristi Spencer.

He also plays forward or guard on the basketball court, a position determined by his defensive assignment.

“I love to play defense in basketball and I love the challenge of trying to stop one of their best players,” Gibson said. “I just love stopping their penetration, getting a rebound and playing tough man-to-man defense and getting right into people’s faces and challenging them to score.”

He credits his parents for his success on the field. He said his father continues to hammer advice about perspective to him.

“Whenever the sport gets tough, he is always there to tell me that all the hard work and dedication I pour into the sport is going to benefit me in the long run,” Gibson said. “That has definitely been true.”