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WTA Tennis




Cumming & Goings VII by Jim Cummings

October 31, 2006 04:38 AM

If President Cook agrees, you will be reading the same column I write for Maryland Match Point in this edition of C&G. It may not be such a bad thing because from it you will get a sense that tennis is pretty much the same wherever played and you will see that Wisconsin weather is not limited to Wisconsin. I promise to write Wisconsinese from hereon out.
I thought my officiating work was over for the year, but a call from Terri Gaskill followed closely by an email from Brian Boyd quickly drove any notion of beginning a long, winter's nap from my head.

Terri, the Director of Tennis at the Suburban Tennis Club, was running the Maryland State Junior Outdoor Clay's and needed, really needed, a Referee for the 206 kids entered in events ranging from 8s to 18s. Who can turn Terri down? I've known her since she was a teenager and you couldn't ask for a nicer person to know or deal with.
Brian I did not know, but his email asking for help introduced himself as the chair of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) (the private schools) Tennis Tournament. IAAM I do know, having officiated its tournaments for years. It is always a pleasure to be associated with such a fine group of scholar athletes where the emphasis is on sportsmanship first and sports second. For years, Laddie Levy at McDonogh has run this show and did a yeoman's job doing it, but it was obviously time for others to step up and Brian from the Key School in Annapolis along with Stephanie Maychack form Oldfields School in Sparks were those someones. There were no hitches in the fine job they did.
Weather is always a factor when tournaments are held late in the Fall and this year was no exception. The IAAM was cold and windy, but fortunately, not wet. Not one word of complaint from the kids. They just went out and played. It was harder on the spectators, some of whom were bundled up like Halloween caricatures (No ma'am, I'm the Referee).
All who did not have to be out there, but were, to support and cheer the kids on, deserve
a pat on the back. Consider yourself patted.
Especially with the weather so windy, I made a special point of telling the players not to play with a ball on the court that could be stepped on. The response was heartening. Only a few reminders were necessary. And in four afternoons of play, there wasn't even a hint of a Code violation Way to go, IAAMers!
Things went rather smoothly at Suburban also, although there were times I had to go on
court to ensure fair play. As a whole, the kids were great. There were the usual scoring disagreements and disputes, most of which could be avoided if players followed Code 31
which says the server shall announce the game score before the first point of the game and the point score before each point. And it should be done before the service set is  taken so the receiver can focus on the called score. Too many players who do call the score do so a microsecond before whacking the serve. How can a player focus on a score being called when a serve is about to be rammed down their throat?
In the 2007 edition of the Friend At Court, there is an addition to the Point Penalty System under Conduct that says a Code Violation may be called on a player for failure to follow the instructions of an official. Look for officials to start using this next year to enforce this provision of the Code. It would obviate so many problems if every player were to follow the Code as far as calling the score is concerned. More on the 2007  FAC when we meet again next issue.

By:  Jim Cummings 10/30/2006

Jim Cummings Bio:
   Born in Marinette, WI
   Boyhood friend of the Cook family
   Played varsity tennis for UW-Madison in the 50s
   Officiated at over 25 US Opens as a chair and line umpire
   Served on USTA's Rules Committee when Jack Stahr and Nick Powel were Chairs
   Active senior player and Referee
   Presently helps edit the Friend At Court