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PostHeaderIcon A Weekend in Napa with Silverado Juniors

Silverado Resort and Spa Tennis Courts

Silverado Resort and Spa Tennis Courts

This past weekend was great, and not just because I avoided the Bay to Breakers masses running by my front door. I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy officiating for juniors, and this past weekend at the 2nd Annual Silverado Resort and Spa Junior Open was no exception. I had a great time!


With my “stern” look.

There’s something inspiring about junior tournaments that you don’t get with adult events.  Yes they can sometimes be more work, but when you officiate for juniors you have an opportunity to educate them about the game. Hopefully, this will ensure that they’ll understand and enjoy it more as they get older.

As a tennis player, I’m also inspired by watching 12 and 14 year-olds with awesome technique hit the ball cleaner than most guys on my USTA team, myself included. Watching them hit deep shots with great topspin and control, you realize that size doesn’t matter, muscle doesn’t matter, but good technique DOES matter.

On top of their technique, it’s also great to see their competitive fire. One particular match featured 12 year-olds competing hard in a match featuring 10+ shots per rally, with many of them hitting the baseline and sidelines (with no calls for a line monitor either). Both players had strong serves, excellent returns, great groundstrokes, and tenacious defense. Interspersed with the excellent play were acknowledgements of “good shot” from both. I dare anyone to watch a match like that one and not “feel the love” for the game.


Reward for a great day!

Far and away, one of the best things about officiating for juniors is the personal thanks you receive from the competitors and their parents. My personal horror aside at being called “Sir”, I’m touched every time a competitor shakes my hand and thanks me for helping them with whatever aspect of the match in which I assisted. Even parents are thankful, regardless of the win/loss, because they realize that your presence means that the match is fair and more fun for all.

The Silverado facility was great, and the staff was top-notch. Jacob Hansen ran a great tournament, and every parent I talked to had nothing but great things to say about the event. I might be a representative for the USTA, but a great staff makes my life a whole lot easier and way more enjoyable.

Last thing, I’m beginning to have a strong sense of what’s important to me as an official. It’s my duty/desire to help ensure a fair tournament for all because of my own love for the game of tennis. And I hope that’s evident, and contagious!

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