Rookie Officials Impress at Tevlin Challenger
October 20, 2008
Tennis Canada is continuing its efforts to increase the number of officials in the country and another step was taken at last week’s $50,000 Tevlin Challenger in Toronto where a group of fresh-faced officials were given their first opportunity to work a professional event.
After receiving their line umpire training from Tony Cho, Canada’s only Gold Badge referee, a group of people from varying backgrounds and professions came together to take part in an important learning experience in hopes of furthering their qualifications down the road.
“We need more officials because in 2011 the two Rogers Cup events will be virtually combined and we can’t have the same people in two places at one time,” said William Coffey, manager of officiating development for Tennis Canada. “The Tevlin was the perfect place to start training people to get them ready for more events in the future. This is a long-range plan.”
Coffey would be pleased to know how much these new officials are enjoying themselves. They all seem to be pursuing an interest that they have had for a long time, and they are drawn together by a common love for the game of tennis.
Lisa Marie is currently a school teacher who has volunteered in tennis for the past 12 years. Officiating was her way of getting into the sport in a different capacity.
“I hope to become more serious about it in the future,” she said. “I am interested in learning a lot about officiating and it’s just been so much fun being here with all these people.”
Full-time student Josh Weissman agrees saying, “I’ve been playing tennis my whole life and this is a great way to stay involved in the game. I like being on court because it feels like I’m really part of the atmosphere. I would definitely consider doing this full-time.”
As evidenced by the participation of a school teacher and a university student, officiating attracts a large spectrum of people. Two other examples are Scott Fraser who is an IT Manager for Exxon Mobil and Maryam Modaressi who is a homebody just enjoying life through her love for tennis.
Wail Odeh is here fulfilling a lifelong dream.
“Where I grew up there was not much opportunity to go out and play tennis,” he said. “But when I was six or seven years old I would watch on TV and I just knew I wanted to be one of the chair umpires. When I got to Canada five years ago I already knew that this is what I wanted to do long-term and now I am doing it.”
The goal is to get as many of these officials as possible to continue training and to attract even more new and interested parties. The Tevlin turned out to be an ideal event for achieving these goals.
“I noticed a marked improvement with all of the new officials throughout the week,” said Coffey. “I’m very happy.”
Dates for the next introductory training session are yet to be confirmed but Cho says that it will be sometime in early 2009.