Erin Peterson ’00, DPT’03 balances her primary job as a physical therapist in Seattle with a side hustle as a softball umpire.
Growing up, there weren’t many sports Erin Peterson ’00, DPT’03 didn’t try. “If it was a sport, I played it,” says Peterson, who played varsity softball and basketball at Puget Sound while she studied natural science. It was softball that earned her a spot in the Puget Sound Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013, thanks in part to school records she set, some of which still stand. Softball was always her first love: When she discovered it at the age of 6, she says, it “felt like coming home.”
Peterson served as an assistant coach on the Puget Sound softball team while making her way through the university’s graduate program in physical therapy. Then she saw her involvement in the sport fall away while she focused on her career as a physical therapist in the Puget Sound region. But she ultimately found her way back: A former Logger basketball teammate saw an ad for softball umpires and told Peterson, who immediately signed up for the training.
“Two weeks later I was on the field, and it had the exact same feeling of home as it did when I was a player.”
As an umpire, Peterson has called games in the PAC 12 and Big Ten, at the NCAA’s Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, and at international tournaments as far away as Japan. One of the most gratifying things about the side hustle is representing women in the profession, as they continue to make up a low percentage of umpires.
“The players or families almost always say something about how great it is to have a female umpire,” Peterson says. “That visibility matters.”
Peterson balances umpiring with her ownership of Renew Physical Therapy in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Of juggling the two passions, Peterson says each role makes her better at the other— and both, she says, have made her a better listener and communicator.