Sports ... an important activity in most schools.  At what age do we teach our children that sports isn't just an social outing and a time to only give half of an effort?

Here's the reason I ask. My daughter is playing eight-grade softball this year.

She has played little league and ASA traveling ball as well.

I have always taught my children that sports is a team effort and that you don't always win every game.

The other night as her team was playing another eight-grade team, we experienced a ton of very disappointing things during the game.

I am not the coach of her team; I'm just a parent who pays the fees and shows support for her team.

However, the umpiring at the game was at the least comical and ridiculous.

The plate umpire on more than one occasion didn't know the count, balls and strikes, to the point that he actually let a batter strike out and then take two more pitches and she was then able to hit the ball.

This action allowed three additional runs to be scored for the other team.  Now as if that wasn't bad enough, two batters later, our short stop brought it to the field umpire's attention and then they called the girl out and took away the three runs.

This may seem fair, but wrong on so many levels.

As a parent who played the sport and has a daughter who plays the sport now, I was furious that this happened.

First, the inconsistent umpiring. Second, allowing the teams to play to the end of the game only to take away three runs from the team that was wining so that they ended up losing by one run,. The final score was 6 to 7 my daughter's team.

Here's my point, we stress to our children that being a good sport is the utmost important thing in sports.

Then you have officials and coaches who don't know the sport or enforce the rules of the sport.

How in the world are our children supposed to know what the rules of the game are?

I hope the next game is better for both teams that were involved the other night and that there is a higher standard held for those officiating the games.