Scooby always called 'em like he saw 'em

Despite it being football season, my recent thoughts have turned to my youth and summers spent at the Cameron softball and baseball fields. No, not because the World Series is going on, but rather because one of my favorite people passed away.

Elbert "Scooby" Tindle Jr. died in Cameron on Oct. 26 from complications due to sickle cell anemia. Scooby was a kind, funny and loving person who wanted to make sure kids on the diamond did one thing—have fun.

He once told me that while umpiring he tried to stay focused on one thing. Whether it was an adult men's slow pitch game or an 18-year-old girls fast pitch game he kept the same motto—"Everything is like 10 and under. We're gonna have fun."

He was 37 years old when he passed, spending the last 19 of those years as a softball and baseball umpire.

I played summer softball starting in the fifth grade and when I got too old to play, helped coach my younger sister's teams with my dad Claude.

We were at fields at the Airport Complex at least four nights a week each summer. I also kept scorebooks and worked concession stand, spending my whole summer with a great group of people.

Scooby Tindle Scooby Tindle Along the way, Scooby even got my dad on the umpiring kick, where he called the games for a few years in Cameron.

Scooby would umpire both boys and girls summer league games, then grew to calling high school softball. He was so proud to be a part of the game.

He told me that Randy Sapp taught him the game of baseball and got him interested in it. Scooby graduated from Cameron's Yoe High School in 1990 and began his umpiring career that same summer.

He also did free DJ work at school dances during his life and even tried the coaching side of things when his daughter Jamie was old enough to play T-ball.

The last time I saw Scooby was late last spring when I was helping with my son Bradley's pre T-ball team. We discussed how things had come full circle, he umpiring my games growing up and how my son would soon be old enough to start playing in leagues where Scooby would call his games too. Unfortunately the latter will now never happen.

Area summer ball leagues and those high school teams who were fortunate enough to have Scooby call games will sure be missing something special next spring.

As word of his passing spread, many people remembered him and also remembered that when Scooby called a game, he called it fair.

Not too many people knew him by his real name, but mention "Scooby" and folks knew exactly who you were talking about.

His dedication to the youth of Milam County helped keep things rolling in the Cameron softball and baseball leagues. Spring and summer just won't be the same at the ball fields without him.

Despite being a Cameron native, he had Rockdale ties too. His brother is Bobby Joe Tindle and his nephew Bobby Joe Tindle, Jr. was a standout athlete at RHS.

So when football is done and basketball shoes are put up and it's time to get out the ol' ball and glove, let's remember this kind person who had a love for the game and for the kids.

And for Scooby's sake, let's not forget how to have fun.

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2009-11-05 digital edition

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