One of the hallmarks of a good official is being able to keep your head when everyone around you is losing theirs.
It’s even more impressive when the composure is being shown by a 14-year-old boy when surrounded by a group of adults who are the ones acting like children.
Such was the case for Josh Cordova Jr., who made national headlines in June for his mature approach and calm demeanor when parents and coaches started to verbally and physically assault each other during a youth baseball game being played by 7-year-olds in Colorado. While the fists and words flew, Josh made a priority of keeping the players out of harm’s way.
“I helped them get away. I just wanted to make sure they were safe,” he said.
Police were called to the field, and Josh offered his perspective to law enforcement before returning to the diamond and working two more games that day.
“I just wanted to keep my obligations,” he said.
For his ability to stay calm, keep the young ballplayers safe and provide a mature example of sportsmanship, Josh was honored this past summer with the NASO Great Call Award. He and his family were brought to NASO’s 2019 Sports Officiating Summit in Spokane, Wash., where he received the award. He also took center stage for an interview by Fox Sports officiating analyst Mike Pereira, again showing an uncommon maturity before a crowd of hundreds of officiating leaders.
NASO Founder and President Barry Mano explained that Josh’s actions on that fateful June day — and under the intense media spotlight that followed — made him an easy choice as a worthy Great Call Award recipient.
“During a game he was umpiring, Josh was regrettably dragged into a scene of adults acting like jerks. Words and fists flew and the umpire in charge, Josh Cordova, demonstrated a maturity and a presence that is noteworthy even for adult umpires and sports officials,” Mano said. “The video of that untoward event went viral and when we saw it at NASO, we said we need to recognize the stellar way Josh handled himself and the situation.
“When he presented himself on stage during the 2019 Summit in Spokane, his maturity and situational awareness were again on full view. It was neat to watch the audience of 500 officiating leaders come to their feet in recognition of Josh’s positive officiating light.”
In addition to his NASO recognition, Josh also caught the eye of Major League Baseball umpire and Colorado resident Chris Guccione, who invited him to a Dodgers-Rockies game at Coors Field in Denver, where he received some new umpire swag and had the opportunity to deliver the lineup cards to home plate for the pregame umpires meeting.
Perhaps the best part of the aftermath of that fateful day has been Josh’s determination to remain an umpire in the wake of such a series of unfortunate events.
“He handled it so well, and he’s not going to quit,” said Josh’s dad, Josh Cordova Sr.