Saturday, February 28, 2009

ITA Referees: How Would You Rule?

Its always fun to hear how different referees/officials would rule in specific situations. Here is a good one for you.

SCENARIO: In an ITA dual match, the player from Team A has just received his second overrule. The coach from Team A then demands that the chair official be removed or he will refuse to play. His reasons were that the official had lost control of the match and since there were 6 officials plus a referee then he had a right to demand a new chair official. The coach from team B objected and said this was not in the prerogative of the referee to remove the chair official.

How would you rule???

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How Would You Rule?

SCENARIO: In a Division I, ITA dual match, player A spits in the face of the official following his doubles match. The other two doubles matches are still playing.


1. Wipe the spit off your face and then give him a hug and tell you understood that he had a difficult childhood.

2. Call the player's mother.

3. Issue a code violation--default. Then default the highest doubles match still playing.

4. Issue a code violation--default. Then default the player from his singles match.

5. Call the coaches together and ask for their advice.

We Aren't Cowards In The USTA

Attorney General Eric Holder

In a recent speech our Attorney General said we as a people are "cowards" who are afraid to talk about race--aren't you glad that isn't true in the USTA! In fact, we are just the opposite. We love to talk about race, promote race, and label anyone a racist who won't talk about race. We are indeed a modern day paradox.

Holder was quick to point out that we as a people tend to practice segregation when we are on our own at night. What a patently absurd statement. Obviously, he needs to come down out of his ivory tower. I have been an official for a long long time and I have never seen us segregate our dinner crowd based on race. (There are times that we do tend to segregate based on gender but that's because we tend to go to Hooter's.)

Here are some examples of our "lack of cowardice" in the USTA:

* We regularly promote people based on their race.

* We never confront people based on race even if their performance is sub par.

* We tend to be very lenient based on race so we don't offend anyone.

* We live in dread fear that someone is going to file yet another lawsuit and tarnish our "diverse" nature and practices.

Obviously, Holder is not familiar with the USTA or he never would have made those statements...

A Dark Day On The Potomac

Its always fun to watch a politican talking out of both sides of his mouth (and most of it untrue) and last night was certainly no exception...

Here are some truthful facts of what is happening in Congress:

* They passed a $787 billion stimulus bill. Most of which goes to labor unions.
* This week they are passing an additional $410 billion spending bill.
* The new bill includes huge raises for social programs in addition to the stimulus monies.
* The new bill includes a RAISE OF 10% for members of Congress.

My QUESTION FOR THE DAY is this: Since Congress is getting a 10% raise, should we as officials get the same???

For all of you who voted for "change"--you are now getting it... And our children and grandchildren will be paying for it for years to come.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Miracle on the Brazos

Genuine Authenticated Miracle on the Brazos
February 22, 2009

For those disgruntled officials (and a few friends) who have unjustly called me a cheauvenistic referee over the years, I wanted to personally notify you of this miraculous event that occured yesterday in Waco, Texas, at the Baylor vs UCLA men's match:

In a gesture of appreciation and recognition of the high quality of women officials' officiating in ITA matches, Referee Randy McDonald assigned THREE WOMEN OFFICIALS (Joyce Grant, Ginny James, and Michele Walker) to the first three singles matches in this highly contested match.

To further enhance his standing as a diverse and sensitive referee, Randy then assigned Randall Edwards, Bernie West, and Kevin Foster to the lower three matches.

Let it never be said again on this earth (or in Heaven) that Randy is a cheauvenistic referee.

(Lest I take too much credit for this magnanimous gesture, I did let the officials choose from a set of random scorecards and it was the hand of the Lord that determined who would do which match. At least He knew I needed redemption.)

How Would You Rule? (Part Two)

Player A hits a deep hard ball crosscourt just inside the near sideline. Player B barely makes a play on the ball and grunts what appears to be the word "OUT." Player A, in the meantime, is at the net ready to put the ball away and yells out "that ball was in, that ball was in" as SHE hits it crosscourt for a winner.
Hearing this, it appeared Player B made no attempt to re-engage the point. The chair umpire asks Player B what her call was and she responded she didn't call the ball out, but was grunting in an attempt to retrieve the good shot. The coaches of both players are on court when this situation transpires and get rather excited.
How would you rule:
a) Point to Player A since she put the ball away.
b) Overrule Player B although she said she didn't call the ball out when asked by the chair umpire.
c) Replay the point on the grounds Player B appeared to make an "OUT" call thereby interferring with Player A making the next shot.
d) Replay the point on the grounds that by Player A yelling out during the point she hindered Player B from continuing play.
e) Something else....

How Would You Rule? (Part One)

This is the first in a two part post on "How Would You Rule." Please send in your comments as soon as possible so the person who submitted these can rest easily... (And hopefully that he made the right decision.)


Home coach informs the referee that the ball change would only be after the second set since that was the conference rule and he didn't have the budget to use a case of balls for each dual match. Unfortunately, the two teams playing were from different conferences.

What should the referee do if the home coach refuses to allow ball changes after each set as stipulated by the new ITA rules?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Report on Officials Committee Meeting (2-14-09)

Analysis of latest Officials Committee Meeting from those who attended:


1. Sectional Chairman gave instructions that the Officials Committee website should stay updated.


1. Addition of additional schools for those who were unable to attend in January.
2. Resolution of the financial situation in San Antonio.


Cost of bringing approximately 18-20 committee members to Dallas and paying all their expenses.

Just Doing The Math...

In our tennis officiating world there are numerous levels of officiating; i.e. professional, ITA, and local grassroots tennis. I believe all areas are equally important and vital to the development of tennis and tennis players who know how to behave.

Seems that we frequently have officials who seem to think there is some ladder that they need to climb in order to be noticed and have success. Honestly, I think the officials who work at the grassroots level are the ones who deserve the most recognition because they put up with the most.

I frequently encounter officials who want to "move up" to the professional level and it is usually for these two reasons:

1. So they can make a living doing tennis officiating.
2. So they can be recognized at the higher levels and meet pro tennis players.

Since I think #2 is a joke, let me address #1...

Here are the current pay scales at professional levels other than the US OPEN:

Linesmen/women $90/day
White Badges $100/day
Bronze Badges $110/day
Gold/Silver Badgres $120/day

Referee pay for ITA dual match (usually 3-4 hours): $130/match
Umpire pay for the same: $115/match
Big 12 Pay: Averages about $300/match

Grassroots pay:
Referee $17.50/hour with 8 hour minimum in DFW area.
Umpires $15/hour with 6 hour minimum in DFW area.

Now--you do the match and see whether you can make more money staying home and working or chasing some elusive dream all over the country...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Would You Rule? Another Question For Our Experts

In a match at this past week's National Indoors the following event occured:

After the 3rd point had been played the chair official announced the wrong score. Neither player said a word. After the 4th point, the official again announced the wrong score with no response from either player. After the 5th point, the official announced "game" and then the player who lost the game said the score was wrong.

Everyone who was watching the match knew the official had the score wrong but neither player ever said a word until the game score was announced. Of course one player and coach wanted the game but the other player and coach disagreed. The chair official was not able to adequately resolve the matter so...

Both coaches then called the referee to the court to resolve the matter.

Here are the questions for you:

1. What would you do with the points and the game?
2. One of the coaches said he was calling the referee to the court because it was a "question of law and not fact." How would you deal with that?

I'm looking forward to your answers...

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Dilema Of Being A New Official

There is probably nothing more intimidating that being a brand new official and reporting to work for your first assignment. You're not sure whether to kick or punt, show up or leave, or just pray for guidance and grace from above...

Here are some suggestions for a new official:

1. Dress for success. Be sure you have all the right clothes--and be sure NOT to wear your stopwatch around your neck.

2. Don't pant and hyperventilate around the referee. Trust me, it makes them nervous.

3. When they are giving you guidance, don't say "I know" to everything they say. If you did know it all, you wouldn't be a new official.

4. Keep your eyes and ears open. No matter how advanced you think you might be, there is still a lot more to learn.

5. RELAX! Its not rocket science and the believe it or not, the whole world does not revolve around that ZAT match that you are observing.

6. Don't give up. It will get easier and you will get better.

7. Let referees know you are available to work but don't send them 20 emails a week. They will work you into the schedule as soon as they can.

8. Don't cry, run, or turn a deaf ear to hints/criticism from your referee. Constructive criticism is the way we learn.

9. Pay close attention to your referee and then weigh what the other officials say to you. Seems that all officials feel the need to criticize everything you do. Remember, they fall under the authority of the same referee as you do.

10. Be sure to bring breath mints. Nothing is worse than seeing a referee or player wilt under your breath.

11. Let the referee know honestly how much experience you might have. It doesn't have to be a blow by blow account of your roving in the last ZAT tournament but we do need to know your level of experience.

12. Find out which referees are open to letting you work. Not all referees are created equal and some either won't or can't use new officials. A good referee is always open to hearing from you and then trying to help train you. We were all new officials at least once.

13. Don't whine, cry, or give up if you don't get to work 52 tournaments in your first year.

14. If you are in training or working toward becoming a chair official--BE SURE to memorize the verbiage exactly as it is stated. Nothing puts greater fear in the heart of a referee more than hearing you screw up the announcement and the scores. That just radiates the word "rookie" to everyone who hears you.

15. Enjoy the experience! There are some difficult times but mainly it is a great profession.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Questions for Saturday's Officials Committee Meeting

Since our Officials Committee will be having their annual meeting on Saturday, I thought I might suggest some questions you could ask...

1. Is the Ad Hoc Committee still functioning and what matters have they discussed before this meeting? What decisions were reached in that meeting if it was held?

2. What is being done about scheduling an additional officials school for those who were unable to attend the first schools?

3. What is specifically being done to deal with the financial situation in San Antonio?

I'm sure our Sectional Chairman would be glad and able to answer all of these questions for you. Hopefully there will be a Roberts Rules of Order somewhere close by...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Observations of ITA Officiating

In contrast to the observations of the professional officiating, I would like to share these observations of ITA officiating in Texas. (I am not commenting on ITA officiating at the national level.)

** There is a sense of "family" that is prevalent among the ITA officials in Texas.

** There is a high level of instruction offered to new officials. Every collegiate coordinator in Texas offers personalized instruction as well as the Chair Academy in Plano and the Chair Training at Baylor University.

** There is an excellent working relationship between the ITA coaches and the officials who work their matches.

** All coordinators in Texas are open to integrating in new officials on a regular basis.

** ITA officiating in Texas is very diverse and is open to all races, sexes, and sexual orientations. There is some hesitancy in the area of transgendered officials but that is a discussion for another post.

** ITA officials in Texas tend to be very supportive and protective of each other. The sense of "family" runs deep in Texas.

** ITA chair officials have undergone intensive training before achieving that status.

** ITA officials in Texas tend to honor their commitments to work. There is very little cancelling of events to work another event. If an official is guilty of this offense they are usually not working ITA events.

** ITA officials tend to be very adept at handling intense situations and are usually able to apply the rules fairly and honorably. Coordinators in Texas get high marks from the ITA coaches concerning their officials.

These are just a few of my observations. We would be open to hearing your observations...

Observations From Near And Far

In response to the previous comment and after conferring with numerous officials from around the state, here are our observations of the PROFESSIONAL RANKS OF TENNIS OFFICIATING.

** There is an obvious and highly maintained pecking order among the officials. This begins at the very top and holds true through the smallest professional event. This is not necessarily bad but can be abusive.

** There is a great amount of butt-kissing to advance through the ranks mentioned above. This includes everything from doing menial tasks to sexual favors. Seems that the one who "sleeps with the right person" gets the fastest advancement.

** There is a great amount of personal abuse that goes on from the upper level officials to the lower level officials.

** There is not enough training of people enlisted to do lines at professional tournaments. Evidenced in the lack of training for the line officials in the recent Dallas Challenger.

** Even though the USTA promotes diversity and equality, it is hardly the case. On the contrary, minority officials are usually promoted purely on the color of their skin instead of qualifications and that makes a laughing stock of the call for diversity.

** There is a great deal of sexual harrassment. Seems that there are numerous militant lesbians in positions of authority and then tend to abuse their power. Instances of sexual harrassment by lesbian officials have often been ignored.

** There is a great deal of drug abuse and sexual activity in the professional ranks.

** Most professional chair officials make very poor ITA chair officials.

** Many professional officials (both chair and line) tend to be very disrespectful of people involved in grass roots and ITA officiating.

** Many professional officials tend to give little creedance to making commitments to work ITA and grassroots event. They more often than not tend to cancel these commitments to work professional events.

** Many professional chairs tend to be abusive of people who only call lines.

** There is a culture of feeling superior to anyone who does not do professional events. This culture is taught from the top to the bottom and is detrimental to the development of new officials.

** New officials tend to be quickly promoted on the basis of their physical appearance, color of their skin, and sexual orientation.

These are just a few observations--I'm sure there are many more...

The sad thing is that most of the officials that I most respect in Texas are no longer in professional levels of officiating. Wonder why????

Monday, February 09, 2009

An Incredulous Comment...

Normally I do not feature nor print all the comments I receive, but I just received this one and thought it worthy of a featured spot on our blog. I will comment on it later but I just can't wait to hear your responses to this one...

Here is the comment in its entirety and totally unedited:

Oh my God!!!!!


When I read this blog I can only see jealous officials who have not made it into the professional line team and are just relegated to working local junior events or ITA (and just hate it) and have nothing better to do but to critize professional chair and line umpires. Let me make it VERY CLEAR that I have nothing against hard working local, and ITA officials who enjoy doing such a wonderful job. They are there to teach the children and college students the rules of the sport. They are the role models for the upcoming generation of tennis players.

As to the individual who speaks so blatantly about the Dallas Challenger I would like to see his or her performance as a line or chair umpire for that matter.

First, you CAN NOT tell if a ball is just in or just out when you see it from the angles were the cameras were at (I also watched it online), but if you are so good that you can tell 100% that a ball is in or out by just looking at the video then let me tell you friend, that you need to contact the ITF and ask them to give you a Gold Badge right away, don't even go through the process of going to the various schools and being evaluated to become the best chair umpire in the world). Second, you can not hear if a chair umpire gave a code violation or not while watching the matches.

I take it this blog is dedicated to officials who have nothing better to do than to critize other officials probably because they are not good enough on court, have no common sense and have nothing better to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These people are certainly jealous of those who actually make it to the BIG LEAGUE!!!!!!!!!!!! So instead of just critizing professional umpires come out and work some events and see if you are worthy to be called a tennis official....

Being an official is a wonderful way to be involved in a great sport like tennis so I would hope that next time someone writes something against an official, being a professional or a local, ITA official; that you put yourself in their shoes and actually think why and or why not things are done or not done.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Are We Policing Our Own?

Seems that the newspapers were filled with stories today about Michael Phelps being suspended by USA Swimming for three months due to pictures being posted of him smoking pot. Seems that there are some similiar, if not worse, things going on in the tennis world. Are we taking the proper steps to discipline and correct???

Suspended for three months.

NFL referee mysteriously removed from games after blowing a call in game which cost the team the game.
USTA professional tennis player who refused to stand during the playing of the National Anthem at the Dallas Challenger this week.

Regardless of his ranking or how much money the USTA has spent on him, the young boy should be at least suspended for a period of time for something like this.
Seems that some of our professional officials were caught altering the badges at the Greece Olympics. What action was taken???
Also comments have been coming in of a specific female official seen frequently sitting in the stands with the parents of one of the players.
The tennis world (and tennis officiating in particular) needs to take a strong stand against these infractions. Be sure to read the previous blog post and comments about what went on at the Dallas Challenger this week.
Something needs to be done and done quickly... We would appreciate your comments about some proper policies and procedures.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

We Have Opened A New Can of Worms

Seems that our previous discussion about the racket throwing collegians has percipitated quite a lively discussion on the blog. (Be sure to read the previous comments.)

As of this afternoon, I had heard from Bruce Avery (National Coordinator of Instructors) and Joe Buys, and both of them said it would be a two point penalty on the #1 doubles match since the offenders' match was over and they are then treated as two individuals.

Personally, I gravitated toward their response as did most of you, but then I received this email from Joyce Grant this afternoon:


I talked to two coaches today who are on the ITA Rules Committee. Their interpretation of the rules is that it would be two separate instances for the two doubles partners and a game penalty would be assessed and carried over.

They said they really had not thought how this rule might play out and would seek clarification Dec. 09 when they meet again. These are the coaches who make these rules.

Perhaps you might want to share this info via blog.


Now if that doesn't just beat all! Let's hear what you all think...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

ITA Question--How Would You Rule?

Our very own and the most illustrious, Joyce Grant from Denver, Colorado, sent us this unique scenario. Let us know how you would rule...

The new ITA rule states that if a player in a doubles match (in a dual match setting) commits a codeable offense after his doubles match and if the doubles are still playing, then the code would go on the highest match still playing.

SCENARIO: Both doubles players (on team #2) on team B simultaneously slam their rackets to the ground when their match was finished. Team B still had their #1 doubles still playing.

Would you:

1. Ignore it and hope noone saw it.
2. Code one of the players a point and the other a game and then assess a game penalty on the #1 doubles.
3. Code both of the players a point and then assess a 2 point penalty on the #1 doubles match.
4. Call Jane and ask her what to do.

Let us hear your opininions... Hopefully Joyce will be reading and share what they actually did in this situation.

Leadership And What It Means

One of the big by-words in today's society is LEADERSHIP. Its kind of amazing that we have that as our new buzz word since it has been an issue since the beginning of time...

In the Garden of Eden, Adam got in trouble when Eve took over the leadership and ate the poisoned apple. Kind of a case of listening to the wrong person for advice; i.e. the snake.

King David (in the Old Testament) got in trouble when he exerted bad leadership and had an adulterous affair. His problem was that he didn't correct his leadership and murdered someone to cover up his affair.

Bill Clinton obviously showed glaring lacks of leadership and wisdom--otherwise, we wouldn't have Monica Lewinski's stained dress...

President Hussein Obama shows a new brand of failed leadership in his inability to properly vet those he recommends for appointments. Hopefully he can correct his leadership skills before we get further into the pits...

In the tennis officiating world we are constantly calling for leadership, calling for training in leadership, and frequently complaining about the leadership we are getting. And rightly so...
Since we are now being paid a viable wage, it is time to demand (and expect) more leadership at every level.
At the local level, we should have leaders who lead and give direction to our new officials. They are new to our world and we have elected local leaders to guide them in their new paths. In Texas, I think our local leaders are doing a fantastic job!
At the state level, we most definitely need leaders who are willing to take stands, give direction to the Officials Committee, share a vision for our state, and deal with difficult issues when they arise. At this level, the leadership mantle falls on our Sectional Chairman. I will reserve my personal opinion at this level...
At the national level, we expect our leaders to give direction, vision, guidance, and provide us with the proper materials that we need. I think they are doing a fine job but perhaps could be a little more attentive to new and inovative methods being introduced throughout the country.
There is a great opportunity for our state and national leadership to show they are willing to step up to the plate and take leadership--and that is in the area of providing an additional school (or more than one) somewhere in the state for those that were unable to make their original school in their area.
This makeup school does not have to be taught in February since all officials are already certified for 2009. It could be taught anytime before October 15, when the data cards are due. The school (or schools) could be taught in centralized locations which are easily accessible by officials. There isn't a week that goes by that I don't hear from officials wanting to know where they can make up their school that they missed.
To overcome the cost of the schools, the participants could be charged a fee to pay the certified instructor and his expenses. In years past, we have held these additional schools in Houston and Dallas and they have worked very effectively. The issue is not who gets the credit but that we get more officials certified.
Our state office has done well in finally putting the schools calendar and other items on the website--hopefully we will see them instituting some MAKEUP SCHOOLS this year...
We would appreciate hearing your comments on this vital issue.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Great Confession: I Screwed Up

Well, another day has passed and yet another news conference and yet another apology from President Hussein Obama. Today's pronouncement that he "screwed up" in his nominations for some of the highest positions of authority in the land are way too little and way too late.

Seems like lots of people during the campaign wanted to talk about Hussein's friends and running buddies but the press would never print a thing. Maybe we should have demanded more accountability and transparency before he was elected.

Now we are paying the price... (and at last count this week's total was over $1 trillion.)

Hussein Obama's Transparent New Regime

Today's news tell us that the THIRD nominee from President Hussein Obama has revealed that she hasn't paid the proper income taxes. Seems that this new "transparent" administration thinks its alright not to pay your taxes. Wonder who will be next???

The dictator in Iran said he was pleased to receive a personal letter from President Hussein Obama. He then said "America has now become a passive nation." Wonder what will be said about our nation during the next four years???

There was some good news today--the Rose Garden at the White House has been redone. The new changes are "interesting" to say the least.
Seems like everyday is a new day--but then it doesn't say its always a good day...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Special Moments At The Australian Open

Rafael Nadal
Men's Singles Champion

Bob & Mike Bryan
Men's Doubles Champions

Serena Williams
Women's Singles Champion

Maria Sharapova
2008 Women's Singles Champion
Noticeably Absent in This Year's Tournament
Lynn Welch
USTA Professional Tennis Umpire
Our American Representative in Australia

And Our Heroes Were All Cowboys...

John Wayne

When we are growing up we all have HEROES, and its a great feeling. Seems that in our early years most of our heroes were cowboys...

President Ronald Reagan

As we grow older, our heroes are usually people we admire and respect. One of my greatest heroes is President Ronald Reagan.
The saddest times in our lives often occur when our heroes have fallen. Listed below are some of our national heroes that have fallen.

Tom Daschle

Former Senator & Current Administration Nominee

Credible Accusation: Tax Evasion

Michael Phelps

Olympic Swimming Gold Medalist

Credibly Accused: Smoking Pot