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Contact PersonGlenda Erasmus

Tel:  021 674 6717
Fax: 021 674 6717
Email: administrator@wpsquash.co.za

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President: Andre Naude
Cel: 076-370-5436
Email: andrefnaude@yahoo.com
 

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SHOULD WE DO AWAY WITH "YES LET?"

OR START BEHAVING ON COURT?


Towards the end of 2013, PSA CEO, Alex Gough was in hot water for apparently using some rather 'flowery' language, directed at the volunteer referee presiding over his match. He apparently called the ref a "%$#ing wanker" for calling "yes let". Gough then told the referee that he was the reason that squash was not in the Olympics (for calling so many lets). (For the full article, see the 'Squash Ezine' edition dated 14 November.)

This once again got me pondering why so few former top players ever volunteer to further their careers through the referee's hotseat? And locally, why is it, if you really think about it, that you do not see yester-year's top Provincial players presiding over key matches in the WP Open or Closed events??!! It may be that they are sick of squash!? Lost interest in the game? Too busy furthering their new careers? It could be a host of other reasons.
 
But I would bet quite a handsome sum that the main reason is that they simply do not wish to be abused!!
 
That chap making the tough calls in the referee seat always appears to be a podgy, greying, middle-aged guy, who seemingly battles to appreciate the action on court whilst squinting over thick-lensed spectacles perched precariously on the edge of his nose.
 
I say quite emphatically... it is about time that the players - and here I mean ALL players at any level - began to take more responsibility for their own actions on court. Refs have taken enough abuse for far too long, and it might now be time for them to retaliate. New rule 15 deals with "Conduct" and 15.6.5 specifically states that "unacceptable behaviour includes, but is not limited to dissent to an official." Such an official (the referee) may impose the necessary Conduct Warning/Stroke/Game/Match as they deem appropriate, dependent on the severity of the offence.
 
I do not for one minute imply that all players must suddenly start acting like robots, and accept every call with a gracious silence. Players are quite entitled to question why the ref made certain decisions. I feel they may also question further for example "what's the difference between this let, and the previous stroke against me" lament! However, what I DO call into question is the MANNER in which the player poses such questions, and also the subsequent shouting and arguing that so often ensues! This sort of behaviour is simply UNACCEPTABLE!
 
And it seems in many instances that it is the higher seeded players who are often most to blame for such outburts. Some even strut around the court with an air of "entitlement", as if to say "don't judge me by my opponents' inferior movement or skills"! Such players seemingly have a desire to pummel and bully the ref into a submissive attitude, so that they (the ref) may tend to be more lenient the next time. Unfortunately, sometimes this works. Stick to your guns, Mr. Ref, and call it as you see it. Make your decisions swiftly and be decisive. Referees are all human and will make the odd mistake. Players need to accept this is part and parcel of the great game of squash. One only needs to pick up any Monday morning newspaper, turn to the sports section, and you will inevitably find at least one article where some or other team is moaning about the poor refereeing/umpiring. In cricket the slow motion replays sometimes show that the umpire missed a snick to the keeper; in soccer you'll see a penalty being awarded when the player wasn't touched; in rugby there is the age-old debate about the difference in interpretation of the laws of the game - which are the same the world over - between the northern and southern hemisphere! In most of these instances the person officiating the match is a very well-paid professional referee or umpire. Squash refs are by-and-large volunteers, who perform their task for the pure love of the game. And often because former players have not put up their own hands to "face the music".
 
Squash scribes are constantly writing on various websites about the need to "be creative" if squash is ever to be included in the Olympics. Well, here's one suggestion. DO AWAY WITH A 'LET' CALL!!!? Or, perhaps even better, is allow each player a minimal number (2?) of let's per game?? A top South African player was once overheard saying that in some of his practice matches, he will, without the knowledge of his opponent, play as if any interference was either a 'stroke' or 'no let'. He said the game flowed so much better, to the extent that his opponent, without knowing it, also tended to play through more interference situations.
 
Squash in the Western Province is healthy - in 2013 we won both men's and women's Inter-Provincial tournaments. Furthermore, we possess some of the top U19players in the country. We are entering a new season with two PSA events and a host of other tournaments leading up to Cape Town hosting the 2014 Jarvis & Kaplan Cups. League begins in March (for the ladies) and early April (for the men). Let's each and every one of us, from 1st league down to 17th, bear in mind our own behaviour on court. And spare a thought for the referee. Be courteous, and accepting of his calls, and if you disagree, remain courteous! After all, it could be YOU who is up next in the hotseat!
 
Squash Correspondent.


 
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