The job of a referee, regardless of the sport involved, is not always easy. First, most decisions have to be made in a fraction of a second. Then can follow a series of insults from parents or spectators in the audience. On the other hand, the passion that drives Gilles Letendre towards baseball is stronger than anything …
This is why the baseball enthusiast has just completed his 25e officiating season.
“I received a certificate (at the end of the season) for my 25 years of service. My father did this for 40 years and I followed him for a long time when I was young. I first played baseball and then I started my career as a referee with the Luc St-Cyr and Rémi Bourgeois. I have always enjoyed following and helping young people to continue playing baseball, ”he says.
Obviously, with the current pandemic, Mr. Letendre has been less busy this summer. He also had to deal with new regulations.
“It was different since we were sheltering behind the pitcher. It’s really not the same, but it has been. I enjoyed it being behind the pitcher. It’s less dangerous than in the back, and I liked that with the new zone. ”
The veteran referee works on several levels, notably in the double letters “Mosquito”, “Pee-Wee” and “Bantam”.
“I referee everywhere! I go to Pointe-du-Lac, Cap-de-la-Madeleine and Trois-Rivières, in addition to Nicolet, Bécancour and Ste-Angèle-de-Laval. I do provincial championships too. In winter, I don’t referee in hockey because I’m not good at hockey (laughs). I’m going to see young people play hockey, for example, ”he says. “Last year, with the tournaments, I played more than 200 games.”
As for the Nicolet Baseball Association, which presented him with a commemorative plaque, the president had only good words for Mr. Letendre.
“He is very useful to the association and he has always been a passionate man who gives of his time,” says Patrick Durand. I worked with him as a player at the time and since 2020, I’m the new president of the association and he does a great job. Gilles is very involved and he probably referees half of the games in Nicolet, so that’s saying a lot. “
One thing is certain, although it is not an easy job, Gilles Letendre does not intend to put away the plastron in the short term.
“Critics, we live with. We harden ourselves. In minor baseball, it’s quieter. With adults it’s harder and there are a lot more bickering. I like to be with young people better, like my father who also refereed young people. Usually I can do about 100 games a summer. I have fun. When they (the young people) meet me at the grocery store, they come to see me, and in the car, they send me a hand, ”he testifies.
“For the moment, I am not retired and I will referee for a few more years. The passion is always there, even if it is sometimes hard and long in the winter, ”he concludes.
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