Almost every umpire and referee working the high school sporting events hopes to do a state final game. Bill Shobe is no exception.
The 1956 Brazil High School graduate has been umpiring for 33 years. He's done baseball, football, boys and girls basketball, wrestling and volleyball and has worked sectionals in all of those sports. But he never got to do a state final. Until this year.
This Friday, Shobe will be at Noblesville and Saturday he will umpire the Championship game of the Indiana High School Athletic Association Class 4 A Baseball Finals at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
"My goal was to get to the finals," Shobe said when asked how he felt about being selected for the big game. "I finally made it. I'm very happy and looking forward to it.
"Some guys never get to the state. At my age, I thought I was going to be one of those guys. Last Saturday I worked the Evansville tournament on my 65th birthday."
The Brazil native is one of two umpires from the Southwest Indiana Officials Association to work at the State Finals this year. A total of 16 umpires will officiate the four class finals games.
Individual high schools select their umpiring crews for the regular season. But the Indiana High School Athletic Association picks the officials for tournament play.
Shobe lives with his wife, Faye, in Shoals, Ind. He worked as a statistician and program analyst at Crane Naval Depot for 30 years until retiring in 1996. Before going to Crane, he was a high school math teacher for four years.
"After I quit teaching, I missed the interaction with the kids," Shobe said. "That's one reason I started umpiring. It gave me a way to still interact with the kids."
Teaching runs in the Shobe family. Faye taught 2nd grade for 33 years. Daughter, Leslie Shobe, is an English teacher in Ferdinand, Ind., living in Jasper. Older daughter, Kip Drew, now an attorney at Indiana University, also taught for several years before going to law school.
At one time Kip was licensed to referee volleyball. She and her dad were picked to referee the Bloomington sectional in 1986. Shobe thought it might have been a first for a father and daughter to referee a sectional game together.
Shobe is very excited about doing the championship game but has no intention of quitting now that he's reached the pinnacle. "As long as my health is good and I can keep up with the game, I plan to keep umpiring. I love it. I love the game."