for those of you who really liked the article about HS tennis players officiating their own matches, you should have known you’d read something like this soon enough…


1 Response to “for those of you who really liked the article about HS tennis players officiating their own matches, you should have known you’d read something like this soon enough…”

  1. June 8, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    There is one thing about high school tennis in this state that needs to change if at all possible.

    It came to light Saturday at the Class 2A Boys State Tennis Championships during a singles match between West High freshman Kyle Appel and Des Moines Roosevelt senior Neel Naff.

    Tensions already were high given the circumstances. And it didn’t help that both players were baking under a relentless sun.

    The situation finally boiled over when Naff became upset about a call that Appel made from which Appel benefited. Naff went on to lose the match and then refused to shake Appel’s hand afterward.

    Poor sportsmanship or not, the situation should have been avoided.

    Appel was forced to make the call because there was nobody else to do it.

    Where was the line judge, you ask?

    Well, that’s the thing; there aren’t line judges for high school tennis meets. It’s the players’ responsibility to serve as line judges for their matches, even at the state championship meet.

    It’s amazing how there always seems to be three officials for any organized basketball game regardless of the circumstances, but when it comes to the biggest tennis meet in the state, the participants also must serve as line judges.

    “I think officials would be very nice because if you have a kid you don’t agree with, you could just grab an official,” Appel said.

    How can you expect a teenager who is trying to win the biggest tennis match of his or her life to also serve as a line judge?

    Not only is it unreasonable, but it’s also unfair because the kids who make it all the way to the state championships deserve better.

    They shouldn’t have to worry about making the right call, nor should they be tempted to make the wrong call to their benefit.

    Former City High tennis coach Garl McLaughlin said adding line judges is easier said than done.

    In addition to the cost, McLaughlin said it would be difficult to find enough certified judges to work the meets.

    There is no cost for admission to a high school tennis meet, even the state championships, so the money to pay for the line judges would have to come from something besides ticket sales.

    There also are numerous matches taking place at the same time during a tennis meet, so it would be a challenge to find enough certified line judges.

    But why would they have to be certified line judges?

    Why not train high school coaches or athletic officials to work as line judges at the state championship meets. It’s hard picturing an adult educator being a worse line judge than an exhausted teenager in the midst of competition.

    And while it’s probably asking too much to have line judges throughout the season, hiring them to work at the state meets seems within reason.

    It wouldn’t fix all the problems with missed calls, but it would take the burden off the teenage competitors.

    Trying to win a state tennis title is hard enough without being a line judge. Having to do both is just asking for trouble.

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