It’s a classroom in midtown Tucson, and Tucson Parks and Rec Softball Umpire-In-Chief is giving a lesson in umpiring.

If anyone should know about umpiring skills, it’s Robinson, who’s worn a chest protector for 70 years.

The 87 year-old Robinson umpired his first game in Wilmington, North Carolina back in 1954. He filled in for an umpire who didn’t show up, unaware he was a part of history.

“I found out later it was that old Negro League playing baseball in my city,” said Robinson.

Robinson umpired through a career in the Air Force, and later became the American Softball Association’s Umpire-In-Chief.

“It’s just something that I got into my blood and can’t get it out.”

Today, Robinson only umpires a select few games each year. He recruits and teaches future umpires.

“Trying to get a group of umpires that enjoy what I do.”

Listening carefully in the classroom are some rookies, and also his protege, umpire Paula Hoekstra, who is considered one of the nation’s top umpires as she travels the country to different events.

“Joe is a legend,” said Hoeskstra. “If there is ever a question, I just asked Joe. He always says that he might be wrong but he never is.”

Robinson shares wisdom, stories, and humor, such as why umpires turn around when they clean off home plate.

“No one in the stands wants to see your behind.”

The students chuckle, but umpiring is a serious business.

“If we don’t have umpires, we don’t have ballgames,” said Robinson. “I show them the right way to do things, and just hope that they stay devoted.”

There are several umpiring books on the table, but Robinson cites three main characteristics of being a good umpire.

“You have to know the rules, you have to have good mechanics, and you have to enjoy what you are doing.”

Home plate is where Robinson’s heart is, and he says he has three more years of which to offer.

“At age 90, I can’t see getting out of bed to work for anyone else.”