Well, I made it through my first official day of officiating at the Hartland (MI) Tournament, but not without some bumps!
I started with a 3.0 men’s doubles match, followed by a 3.5 men’s match, a 3.0 women’s match, a 3.5 women’s match, and a 3.0 men’s singles match. Singles are the best, because you don’t have to keep track of a 1st or 2nd server! I did pretty well in all these matches, with only a couple easily resolved mistakes, like calling a side out when it was actually a point, and calling a 2nd server instead of a 1st. No big deal…..I actually caught my mistakes at the same time the players noted them to me.
Then came the 6th and final match of the day……..the reason I always hesitated to referee. Odd situations, mistakes on my part, and a player whose aggressive personality sets your nerves on edge. You know the feeling……your ears start burning and your heart beats a little faster, making it difficult to think quickly and reach easy resolutions. Granted, her team was far behind in score in both games, so I had to remind myself that everyone handles competition differently.
Ultimately, all but one player all day thanked me for volunteering to referee, assuring me they understood how difficult it can be at times. For my part, I appreciated that, but will be following up with a friend who is a USAPA Certified Referee to know better how to handle the situations that occurred.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience. I definitely need a lot of practice before I’ll feel comfortable making decisions more automatically. But today was a great experience, despite one bad game. It was a great tournament to take that first step. There’s no Tournament Director or Referee Coordinator nicer than Nancy and Karen at Hartland! They are a good part of the reason I’ll be back with my clipboard, timer, pencils, and clothes pin to referee another time, and of course to play.
If you have the opportunity to attend a referee clinic, do so. If, in the end you decide it’s not for you, you will have gained greater appreciation and compassion for the referees you encounter in your future tournament games.
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