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  • Published: Apr 27th, 2012
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The View from the Umpire Chair: Not Always the Best Seat in the House

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Typically, when we watch tennis matches we focus on the players; watching it on our television or, if we are lucky enough, from a seat in the stands. But do you ever wonder what a tennis match would look like sitting in the umpire chair?

Sitting in the umpire chair during a match not only gives you the best view but you are the final say on all calls; a rather powerful position.

Although sitting in the umpire chair gives a sense of authority, the view from the top isn’t always as great as you would think.

In September of 2011, many top tennis officials decided not to participate in the US Open and opted to give up their prime seat on the umpire chair.

The 2011 US Open raked in a record high $23.7 million in prize money with the tournaments total earnings exceeding $200 million. Despite the tournament`s high revenue,  the gold badge chair umpires, some who officiate at the legendary Wimbledon tournament, only make $250 per day sitting in the umpire chairs at the US Open; the lowest pay for any Grand Slam tournament.

A retired gold badge chair umpire, Norm Chryst, stated that, “The U.S. Open makes more and more each year, but very little of that goes to the officials. Gold badge umpires don’t want to come here. Why? A lot of the answer is money.”

Not only do chair umpires have to sometimes deal with unfair pay rates but along with the prime view of the players from the umpire chair, sometimes come harsh words from pros when officials have to make  difficult calls that the athletes don`t agree with.

In September 2011, again at the US Open, Serena Williams was extremely upset with umpire, Eva Asderaki, after she made a call ruling that Williams grunted with the intent of distracting her opponent, Samantha Stosur.

Eva Asderaki kept her cool while getting berated by Williams who also confused Asderaki with a US Open official from two years prior saying, “Aren’t you the one that screwed me over last time? Yeah, you are. Seriously, you have it out for me.” Asderaki, looking down at Serena from her umpire chair, shook her head “no,” but Williams continued her insulting rant.

More recently, in January of 2012, David Nalbandian criticized the chair official, Kader Nouni, for over-ruling a point. Later, Nalbandian told reporters he felt that Nouni wasn`t fit to sit in the umpire chair.

In another recent incident involving umpire, Kader Nouni and pro, Caroline Wozniacki, Wozniacki was upset that Nouni overruled a call on a match point. Wozniacki felt that he should have stayed out of it because of the fact that she had no more challenges while opponent, Maria Sharapova did.  The replay showed that Nouni`s call was right however, an angry Wozniacki, who ultimately lost the match, refused to shake Nouni`s hand at the end of the match when he came down from his umpire chair.

Those are just a few instances where sitting front-row-center in the umpire chair is not so rewarding. What players fail to realize when arguing with the chair umpire is that no matter what, the official`s position gives them the final say.

SI.com journalist, Courtney Nguyen, said in an article that “Umpires are damned if they do, damned if they don’t, damned the minute they start climbing that little chair of theirs.” As you can see the view from the umpire chair can be quiet controversial at times.

Courtney Sloan is a college student studying the field of mass media and a copywriter. As a writer and a tennis enthusiast, Courtney has made it her top priority to research and write about topics including tennis news, tennis products, fashion and more and report her findings to the tennis community. 

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  • Author:
  • Published: Apr 24th, 2012
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The Grand National

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2011 Grand National

2011 Grand National (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s one of those races which pulls in visitors from all over the planet – The Grand National is an iconic horse race which punishes both horse and rider, with a long history of injury for both.

Origins of the Grand National

The Grand National, or simply ‘National’ is known throughout the world as one of the toughest horse races on earth, with terrifyingly tall jumps, ditches and water troughs which pose serious threats to both horse and rider. The original course was laid out by a local hotel owner, William Lynn and a local Lord, the 2nd Earl of Sefton.

There is actually quite a bit of debate over when the first race took place, with some saying that this happened in 1836, whilst the majority saying that races before 1838 happened on a different course. It is clear that in 1838-89 the small, local race turned into a national extravaganza when the railway arrived in Liverpool, enabling a large influx of visitors to the race and an explosion of publicity.

Further Changes

The Grand National captured the imagination of the public in the UK and worldwide, however the race wasn’t originally a handicap race. This was done after the original owner Lynn became ill and this laid the groundwork to drastically increase both the interest in the race and it’s noteriery as a real challenge. Ever since the change to a handicap format, The National has been one of the most popular betting races in the calendar, attracting bets worldwide.

Many Memorable Winners

There have been many memorable races at the now famous Liverpool race course Aintree – probably one of the most recognisable names on this list would be Red Rum. Red Rum was originally bought for 6000 guineas, however after successive wins at the National and many other races became priceless and a national treasure, eventually being given the honour of being buried on the finishing line at the Liverpool course.

Love Hate Relationship

There have been many changes to the course over the years, with recent calls for the fences again to be lowered following the last race in 2012. In the race, two horses died after falls and riders were injured. Despite this, the 2012 Grand National race was deemed the closest finish in history, with a photo finish which took quite a while to decide.

The public at large have a real love hate relationship with The Grand National, with some animal protection societies calling for the race to be banned altogether and others asking that again the course be altered to reduce the chance of injuries to horses. It’s in a way sad that the extreme nature of the course is slowly being eroded, with the highest jumps being made slimmer and lower, but in the end the special nature of this race is made from the whole atmosphere of the event.

Citations:
  • Image courtesy of RacingKel

The Equine Warehouse offer a great range of equine respiratory supplements- perfect for your horse to prepare for that big race!

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Tonight on the radio version of News, Notes and Rumors

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We continue all NFL draft all the time tonight.

Our friend Paul Banks owner of Chicago Sports Guru and the Sports Bank.com joins us to talk about the draft.

Eric Galko, Dir. Of Scouting for OptimumScouting.com, joins us to talk about my Browns Mock draft and what corrections it needs.

NOTE:  There will be no show on Wednesday. 

 

IF you want Browns draft coverage of the live draft, join us.

Thursday join us for our live draft coverage starting at 7:30 PM EDT.  John Tuzey, senior draft analyst for theHuddle.com will be my co-host and we will get live updates from the floor of the draft from Eric Galko, and Samantha Bunten.  We will also talk to Bob Karlovec as well.

Friday the coverage will begin at 7:00 PM EDT and my co-host will be Matt Waldman of

Rookie Scouting Portfolio.  We will cover rounds 2 and 3.

Saturday we will begin coverage at noon EDT.  My co-host will be Ken Becks of

1stdownscouting.com/1st down.  We will be on the air for as long as the voice of the old man (me) holds up. 

Our NNR Sportsims.net football league will start on May 2.  The league is free to our listeners and readers.  Email me at [email protected] to register.  The draft order will be determined by the date of registration.

NNR at 6PM EDT follows the Moohead show at 5PM on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.  Press the Green arrow at 6 for NNR.

Join Mr. Moohead  on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/ after early Cavs games for his post-game chat.

The archive of the show is available the following day at http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

Be part of the show by calling our SportSims.com hotline at 216-539-0607.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com and was a senior writer for .  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .  

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