Abilene softball community honors longtime umpire David ‘Oly’ Olson

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – He wasn’t always the focus, but this long-time umpire was always part of the diamond.

Players, coaches and parents honored the life of Big Country softball umpire David ‘Oly’ Olson Friday at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

Even though there are no numbers on the scoreboard or fans in the seats, with David Olson behind home plate, there was always a game to be played.

“When you’re dealing with little girls and softball, you want the best experience for them and you want to have good coaches and good parents and good umpires,” said softball coach in Sweetwater Eli Espinoza. “He was by far one of the best.”

Olson, or as many knew him, ‘Oly,’ spent 26 years calling games for the young ladies of the Big Country, three of which were Eli Espinoza’s daughters.

“They knew that it was going to be a good game, they knew it was going to be fair, but it was going to be fun,” said Espinoza.

Espinoza didn’t just get the chance to watch him the sidelines, but also out in the field.

“I’ve coached [my daughters] ever since they started playing softball,” said Espinoza. “Never has an umpire ever given me anything, and one state tournament he gave me this pin right here and it’s an umpire saying, ‘Take your base,’ and I just thought that was awesome right there.”

They aren’t just the stories from one coach, but from parents, players and even other umpires.

“We spent a long time on the field and on the road going here and there,” said umpire Rinn Barnett.

Many say Oly definitely made a difference with his stature and his moves in center field.

“He liked to dance a little bit on the field,” said Barnett.

“We played music every time in between innings and he would do his little Oly shuffle, I would call it, and the girls loved it. They would try do the same dance in the dugout,” said Espinoza.

Even though the game is over, the lights on his memory will never go out.

“People are going to tell stories about Oly for a long time,” said Barnett.

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