Pictured: Sandy Hoffman will be inducted into the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday.
By Paul Augeri
MIDDLETOWN – Sandy Hoffman called balls, strikes and fouls in the area for parts of six decades. It is no surprise then, that his support section will run several tables deep at the Elks Club on Thursday, when he and nine others, plus championship teams from Xavier and Wesleyan, are inducted into the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame.
Who says umpires don’t get any love?
Hoffman, 68, umpired and officiated basketball games throughout Middlesex County for more than 40 years with equal measures of sound judgment, common sense, patience and even humor.
“A lot of crazy times, a lot of fun times,” he said.
His induction comes at a crucial time in his life. Hoffman is fighting the good fight against the most vicious of foes, cancer. In the spring of 2018, just weeks after working his final game in the 2018 CIAC basketball tournament, doctors discovered a tumor in his bile duct.
One month after retirement took this deflating turn, his wife also was diagnosed with cancer. In the nearly two years since, Sandy has kept the disease at bay while Rachel, who used to attend games just to be close to her husband while he worked, wages her own fight.
Thursday then, will be a respite, a night of pure celebration, as well as another reminder for the couple of all the good that has come from Sandy’s years in sports officiating.
“Now I have to get my wife better,” he said. “But I’ll tell you one thing, if it wasn’t for athletics … Some of my closest friends are officials. The support group — our regular friends, family, the officials, the umpires — it is a fabulous support group.”