The trials and tribulations of the Umpire’s Committee

Finding experienced umpires and linesmen was a challenge and cold weather made it worse. Paul Molloy reported on the challenges.

He wrote the following article for the May edition of the APTA newsletter Paddle Talk:

“The APTA created an arm known as the Umpires Committee approximately three years ago. Bob Brown, the APTA president, called a meeting of players interested and experienced in paddle and tennis officiating. Two of those in attendance were Paul Sullivan and myself, both members of the Eastern Tennis Umpires Association (ETUA). A committee was formed for the purpose of providing consistent and experienced officials at all APTA sanctioned and ranking tournaments. Paul Sullivan as Chairman and I as Secretary, sought out qualified Chair Umpires in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Long Island, and the other sanctioned tournament locations.

We also recruited some ETUA members, such as Jack Stahr, Mike Dunne, Adrian Clark, Lee Jackson and Judy Lessing, who have many years of Forest Hills and Wimbledon work among their credits. Prior to the start of the following paddle season, an Umpire-in-Chief was appointed for each men’s and women’s tournament. In return for a modest fee, the Umpire was charged with the responsibility of securing officials for the final and semi-final matches. This involved contacting the tournament Chairman well ahead of the event and working with him, or her to secure linesmen in advance.

To be a good linesman, one needs a certain amount of dedication and training, as well as good eyesight. Trying to find seven or eight such people on a twenty-degree Sunday afternoon in New Canaan, Short Hills or wherever is no easy task. Not many are willing to endure both the cold and the responsibility involved. We usually had to twist a few arms and often ended up with insufficient coverage and several unskilled linesmen.”

Source: Paddle Talk, No. 4 (May)