Refereeing a Pickleball Tournament

I know pickleball is only a game.  With that being said sometimes it is more than just a game.  This drama recently unfolded during a tournament.  The two teams  had travelled from out of town for the occasion (how many games do we travel for, not often is it for any other reason than the love of the game, whichever game it is.) out of their pockets they paid to come and they paid to be there as well.  The referee was one of many voluteers giving their time and effort to a sport that well, we all love (more than just a game),  and I thank them for making tournaments possible.

This particular match for the two teams was do or die. Both teams had already lost one round in the double round elimination and one team would be going home after this match.  The referees for the tournament were made up of volunteer and regular referees. The regular referees were used for all key matches and volunteers for the mass elimination rounds. The volunteers are giving their time and efforts to help make this event possible. During this particular round the referee lost her concentration a little and the score got muddled. The game was still in the early stages but the teams were getting distracted by the score keeping of the referee. One of the teams did get a little upset and some of the fans had started to chirp in by this point. I get it referees have a tough time and this only started to make things worse. Some of the other spectators began to chime in as well but in defense of the referee. “She is a volunteer doing her best.”, “This is a tournament and the players should have better referee.” This went on for a few minutes and before it developed into a full blown situation a resolution was put fourth. Another referee who was watching the match was asked if he could help with the scoring, allowing the referee to finish the match with dignity and the players continued the game without any further scoring concerns. The referee finished the match performing her duties as required with a little help score keeping. In the end I think things worked out for the best under the circumstance. The competitve side of me understands how a distraction can impact your game.   Should the players just demand a new referee? The referee admitted her fault with momentarily losing track of the score and once that was remedied and apologised for can a player get back into the game without getting flustered further? A paid professional referee, yes there should be a level of professionalism to be expected. A volunteer referee. should they be held to the same level of expectations? In the end we are all human and we sometimes make mistakes. How we react to the mistakes of others is our own choice. Looking for solutions that everyone can live with is not always possible. So if you have any thoughts on this or had a similar situation leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

This is Dean from WayWard Solez reminding you to follow your Solez.

One thought on “Refereeing a Pickleball Tournament

  • Wild T

    As you know Dean medicine Hat has an upcoming tourney (July 28-30). I am the head referee and even though I am not a professional (unless someone wants to pay me) I have been reffing for many years both in AB and Mesa, AZ.
    As far as the above example is concerned, the spectators could have been charged with a technical foul given to the team they supported. Spectators are not allowed to harass players or referees. The same applies to playing teams. Usually a ref will give a technical warning first so the spectators understand the consequences for their team should they continue. Two technicals given to any given team and the game is forfeit.
    This is one way IPO has ruled so that the sport doesn’t get like hockey, soccer, football, or baseball games.
    In this situation I am glad the volunteer was helped out. A similar situation developed last year at our tourney whereby the ref gave up trying to resolve a dispute so I was called in the adjudicate. There is always a solution and the tourney continued.

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