“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley”, wrote Scotland’s National Bard, Robert Burns – reminding us of life’s unpredictability. None of us ever knew our lives (and favourite sport) would be disrupted by a global health crisis as they have been for the past year – and with an ending as equally unknown. We trust this finds you and those you care for in good health and good spirits.
We have produced for you this mid-winter edition of the ‘Behind the Glass’ newsletter – even though active officiating is on pause for now. You’re likely spending most of your time indoors at home, so hopefully you’ll find this newsletter comforting, informative, and spirit-lifting – at least in so far as officiating matters go. 
Well, it’s hard to have people achieving things when nothing is happening within which they can achieve something. Nonetheless, although we don’t quite have the upper hand on the virus, there is hope that things could be starting up within a few months – so that will allow for testing of various sorts. Meanwhile, for obvious reasons, requirements for National Referees, Assessors, the Quality Control Program, and the submission of Activity Logs are on hold until activity resumes.
Maybe you’ll find this inspirational quote of some value:

 “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” - Calvin Coolidge
At a Montreal event a few years ago, Australian Wade Johnstone enters into a hard collision with his opponent while trying for a really difficult shot. The Referee asks him: Are you appealing? Johnstone replies: Should I?
Squash is far from a game of mathematical certainty, and doubt frequently visits a Referee’s perceptions. Nonetheless, there are clear rules to guide a ref in the proper management of doubt. This article will touch on three principle areas - leaving aside Marker issues which also can be troubled with doubts.
There have always been provisions which deal with uncertainty, and generally they allow a let in the face of situations where the Referee is unable to decide on an appeal. Examples include:
  • The actual incident: Referees of every level will experience situations where the facts are not clear, especially considering the pace of play and the movement of rackets, ball, and players. For example, swing interference can often be a blur of considerations involving whether the swing was fully prevented or only partially impeded, whether the opponent’s clearing was acceptable, whether the swing was reasonable, whether a winner was interrupted, and so on.
  • Rules: A Referee may have uncertainty about the rules themselves, either about knowing them or about their proper interpretation. Yes, there’s a provision for just about everything, but the ref may not know it for sure.
  • Definitions: Many words and expressions in the rules (reasonable, every effort, prevented, minimal, etc.) have no definitions. Referees therefore must cope with those ambiguities which needless to say, often vary with player level and/or state of the match.
The rules also touch on different forms of uncertainty, where for the sake of fairness, the Referee must clarify the issue with the player. It may be about what exactly is being appealed, or it may be about why the player is asking for a let – or even whether a let is being requested in the first place. A typical example relates to unseen racket contact – and a question to the opponent is very appropriate. 
Also, with rare exceptions, it is unfair in the face of uncertainty for a Referee to conclude with a "Stroke" or "No Let". Simply wanting to avoid too-high a count of Let decisions in a given match is never justification for penalty-type decisions. Integrity must come before expediency. Having said that, lest players start to have doubts about you, another good piece of advice is to keep to a minimum the words: “I’m uncertain as to what happened”.
The following video demonstrates how things are not always clear cut. In this case, the Referee must decide whether turning occurred or not. If indeed there was turning, then the decision could be a let based on the fact that the ‘turning’ was so quick that the opponent had “no time” to clear (8.13.2). Otherwise, if turning did not occur, the original decision of a "Stroke" is correct. 
So as we saw, it is indeed a difficult decision to make because the Referee needs to have noticed whether or not the ball stayed on the same side of the striker’s head, because if that were the case, then it would not be a case of turning. Even in slow motion, one has to look at it repeatedly to see that it did indeed stay on the same side. This is a typical example of where the concept of ‘uncertainty’ can be invoked to conclude with a let. No one could fault the Referee for using that principle in this case.
As an aside, the announcers claim that the determining factor is whether the striker could have played the ball before it comes off the back wall, but that is secondary to whether turning occurred. You’ll also hear mention that the striker turned, but that ‘spinning round’ movement does not qualify for true ‘turning’, as defined by the rules.

  1. Live life on the edge - Get out there and officiate! The more matches you referee, the fewer instances of doubt you’ll have. The more information you can perceive, the easier will be your job. Your ability to see the truly pertinent details will sharpen and subtleties that would have escaped you in the past will become obvious.
  2. Read the rules – OK, OK – it’s not great bedtime reading – but they are a fascinating study in fairness and structure, and applying them appropriately is a worthy challenge. Actually studying them and imagining various scenarios becomes an eye-opening venture.
  3. Decide authoritatively - If you do have genuine confusion as to the facts (direction of the ball, turning or not, etc), then make your decision with certainty even in the face of this uncertainty. That sounds like a strange piece of advice – but what is needed is an honest and authoritative approach, as in: “I’m not sure where the ball was headed. We’re playing a let”. Boom! End of story.  
At the Bluenose event in Halifax some time back, the ref allows a let to Golan’s opponent. Golan, not thrilled, says: What are you doing? The ref answers: The decision’s been made. Golan retorts with: Yeah, I know it’s been made – but it’s not a good one!

This time round, many thanks are due to Andrés Orozco and Dave Howard for continuing to improve this treasure trove of stuff for officials – the site for Canadian refs to find out pretty much everything about our program.
Check out the <Reports> menu option to find a number of reports that allow you, as an individual to see the status of all referees, find out the status of your overall match assessments, individual competency assessments and assessments you have done on others (if you’re an Assessor). As well, PT Administrators can view all of this information for members of their association. These reports can be sorted by any of the column headings (Name, Province, Referee Level,…) and can also be downloaded to an Excel compatible file.
There have also been some enhancements to information in your profile (Click on your Name in the upper right corner next to <Log off>). To keep your association current, please take this opportunity to update your profile, especially your contact information and Province.

This news came out mid-December, and it’s good news for officials since this event creates some great challenges (and lasting memories) for our officials. Squash has been included in every Pan Am Games since the 1995 Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Canada has excelled in them, winning a total of 41 medals over that time span, including a best-ever haul of 7 medals at the 2019 Games in Lima, Peru.
Pressures to keep the 2023 Games to a manageable size and expense in a pandemic era left squash off the list earlier in this year – but that’s all changed now. So when the time comes and the call goes out – will you be eligible and ready?
December 7, 2020

Squash Canada has released two guiding documents – one for players and one for organizers. Here are the links:

The Squash Canada Officiating Committee would, however, like to offer additional guidelines for officials to bear in mind once league and tournament play resume with officials in formal and informal settings. There is likely to be an interim period in squash competition, probably from spring 2021 to fall 2021, when Covid-19 vaccines may be available but when it will still be too soon to say the virus is no longer a major concern. It is possible we will see official competition resume during this period, meaning there will still be uncertainty and concern. There will no doubt be updated guidelines around play and organizing, but from an officiating perspective we would like to offer guidance on what it will mean to officiate during the transitional period between Covid and not-Covid.
  1. Always remember that the essential role of the official is to ensure that the game is played safely and fairly. All other considerations are subordinate to these two principles.
  2. Following on from the above, if at any time one player feels unsafe for any reason (physical abuse, verbal abuse, excessive contact, and so on) the official must consider this and act if necessary. A valid concern for safety will then necessarily include one’s health and the risk of virus transmission.
  3. If, therefore, a player appears to be demonstrating potential virus signs or experiencing symptoms on court (coughing, disorientation, exhaustion beyond the norm of physical exertion) the official must rule on this whether raised by the opponent or not. No player, official, spectator or club employee should be subjected to a potential infection. If the official is satisfied the player in question represents a legitimate viral threat based on visible evidence, the official may either suspend the match (until a later date if, for instance, a league allows such match deferrals) or award the match to the opponent.
  4. The player in question should then be advised to immediately self-isolate and seek Covid testing.
  5. All other exposed parties should also be advised to be alert to symptoms and seek Covid testing.
  6. The appropriate league or tournament director should then be notified by the official that said player has been removed from play for displaying signs of a viral infection.
  7. In the event that the player in question offers rebuttals such as, “It’s just a cold” the official must still default that player or suspend the match, on the grounds that medical judgements are not the purview of officials and safety is the primary concern, which therefore overrides the assertions of the ill player. Common sense should still guide the official (in the event a player is asthmatic or has a chronic condition, for instance) so as to avoid unfair or premature endings to matches.
  8. If the player in question refuses to leave the court or in any way abuses the other player, the official or any other person involved, the provisions of Rule 15 - Conduct shall immediately be applied.
It is expected that formal notices will be supplied by the various squash governing bodies once Covid-19 is no longer a threat to the playing of the game either recreationally or competitively. At that point, this Interim Rules Guideline will cease to be in effect. Please direct any questions to Curtis Gillespie, the chair of the SCOC.

The SCOC continues it work undaunted under the leadership of its new chair, Curtis Gillespie from Alberta – having taken over the helm about a year ago. His steadfast backups continue to be: Les Homme (ON), Joe Ellis (AB), Viano Oghenekevwe (QC), and Barry Faguy (QC). Of course, Geoffrey Johnson (Squash Canada Programs Manager) remains on the committee – along with Sandra Thompson as the Squash Canada board liaison to the SCOC. And finally, Dave Howard (ON) continues to tether us to the rest of the Squash world as our representative to ‘World Squash Officiating’ and the ‘Pan-American Squash Federation’.
In a Palmer/Richards match, the Marker missed an ‘Out’ call on side wall. The ref, Wayne Smith, called it seconds later. Palmer then asked why the delay, and Wayne’s answer is a crowd pleaser:
The Marker’s was a quiet call.

Well folks, this is a new section for BTG – and it will basically highlight administrative changes to our program.
  • FPS EXEMPTION: Currently, WSF and FPS Referees are exempt from the requirements of our ‘Quality Control Program’ (QCP), which is designed to ensure that our National refs stay sharp. The reason is that they were already being assessed by WSF Assessors – so the QCP was redundant for them. However, now with the imminent adoption of the WSO Program, that no longer applies and so Canadian FPS Referees become subject to QCP requirements. This change will be added to our Administration Manual.
  • FPS STATUS: Currently, our program has 2 Referees with FPS status (Dave Howard and Grant Currie) – but several others have accumulated signatures towards that elevated status. 
  • NEW LEVEL: Our Officiating Committee is currently evaluating the possibility of adding what could be designated as an ‘FPS Regional’ status into our system – with the goal of enhancing participation of our National Referees in seeking FPS status. The current WSO initiative in progress has led to a bit of stagnation in terms of the FPS designations – and so these proposals would allow our Assessors to track and appoint Referees to that level. Stay tuned for further details.
In case you’ve never been there, our Officiating Program has its own YouTube site where video modules (listed in the ‘Resources’ area of our Squash Canada Officials database are available for immediate playback – without any time-consuming download time unless of course, you want the module stored on your own computer). TIP FOR USE: Simply click on the camera icon to the right of the title.  
We’re once more reminding Assessors of changes to our program’s teaching aids, all found on the Squash Canada Official database. The Rules Clinic presentation has been modified to be more amenable to the typical club player who is mostly interested in a casual review of the rules. You may present it in its full and current form – but you also have the option of creating a custom version to meet the needs of a given club. To help with that, we’ve created an INDEX which allows you to locate specific slides by topic - which you can then collate to suit the request. You just need to click on ‘Resources’ in the menu bar – then scroll down to ‘Restricted Training Modules’ and choose ‘Rules Clinic’. In the ‘Notes’ at the bottom of the title slide, you’ll find a link to the full instructions. 

At the TOC in New York, Referee Brad Burke set new standards in honesty when challenged by a player as to why the call was a let. Brad answers: I don't remember!  
Our newsletter has reported to you about this initiative which has yet to formally launch – but you can find a short video HERE outlining its features.

It was accompanied with this text:
The PSA and WSF have been working hard in partnership to create World Squash Officiating; an online education and assessment website that is primarily aimed to standardise squash officiating qualifications worldwide, as well as containing useful resources such as a video library of decisions using recent SquashTV clips, an easy to navigate rules section with example clips, and a download section with handy PDF versions of the rules, line of thinking decision flow charts and template score sheets.
Beginning with a free basic rules test (Level 0) through to the highest level of elite referees (Level 5), the platform is for all squash players wishing to improve their knowledge of the game with the aim of creating a worldwide standard in refereeing and a clear referee pathway from grass roots to the highest level of WSF and PSA events.
Each level is split into multiple modules and contains a mixture of text, YouTube videos, PowerPoint video presentations, SquashTV voiced clips with explanations, mid-level tasks and end of level assessments containing multiple-choice questions and video clips.
The benefits of adopting the WSO courses include having access to new and up to date content, explanations and current interpretations and exclusive video library content from SquashTV that will continue to grow organically over time. The WSF and PSA will only use WSO qualified referees for major events.
The good news: we are planning beta testing imminently with a small number of referees selected by the WSO Advisory Board, before launching the site fully in January. This project will continue to develop over time and a ‘Phase 2’ is planned to follow on immediately after initial launch to add extra features such as:

  • Extra language options
  • Level 4 and 5 courses along with appraisal modules
  • Ongoing addition of video clips into the video library

We would like to extend our most sincere thanks to all those who have participated to this journey in particular the European Squash Federation and England Squash for their financial contributions and their confidence in our capacity to jointly conduct this project.
December 4, 2020
In a review of the status of officiating in Canada, the Squash Canada Officiating Committee identified a critical need to increase the number of certified officials and recommended, among other steps, establishing policies to “mandate competitive players to take the online officiating course and exam to become a Certified Referee” as an entry requirement for Canadian Championships. This was seen as a way to achieve two benefits: to better educate players on the rules of squash to aid in their own play, and to also increase the number of people in a better position to referee matches at events (from their Club level up to Nationals) when called upon to do so.
A survey was conducted of all P/T’s Executive Directors/Presidents and the Squash Canada Officiating Committee to determine the best approach. The survey results overwhelmingly came back in favour of a motion which required a minimum ‘Club Referee’ certification level for all players entering U15, U17, and U19 categories in the Canadian Junior Open (Canadian players only) and the Canadian Junior Closed - as well as players entering the Canadian Squash Championships, Canadian Masters Teams Championships, Canadian Men’s and Women’s Teams Championships and Canadian U23 Championships. This policy comes into effect as of December 1, 2021.

The WSF has made changes to the rules as of December 5th, 2020. The place where these changes were made is Rule #15 (Illness, Injury and Bleeding), and this link (https://www.worldsquash.org/rules-of-squash-2/ ) will take you to the extract of those changes.
In a nutshell, they’ve added some detail to the ‘bleeding’ component of the rules, which is now referred to as ‘Blood Injury’ and has been sub-divided into 3 categories to mimic those of injury – namely Self-inflicted, Contributed, and Opponent-inflicted. The overall effect is to add clarity – all while introducing some leniency to avoid what previously had the potential to end matches prematurely and unfairly because of some excessively strict provisions regarding re-bleeding in the ‘contributed’ category. 

On August 24, 2020, the Pan American Squash Federation (FPS), led by President Francisco Paradisi, together with Squash Canada’s Executive Director Dan Wolfenden, signed a Memorandum of Mutual Understanding (MoU) in which Squash Canada granted the FPS the rights to use all the materials in Canada’s state of the art Officiating Program for the construction of a multi-language e-learning platform. It stated:
The Canadian Officiating Program is considered one of the best in the world, and includes a series of courses that will make up the FPS Officiating Program for both referees and appraisers on platforms in Spanish, English and Portuguese. This NEW program will be called the Pan-American Squash Officiating (PSO) , with the objective of being fast and reliable and giving easy access to anyone interested in learning the rules of squash, as well as for all those who want to be referees of our loved sport.
The NEW PSO website (www.psofficiating.com) will launch its first courses in the beginning of 2021. The FPS Refereeing Program site will include a database for referees and appraisers, allowing them to upload their logs of refereed and appraised matches, including a news section and a calendar that will maintain all events at the Pan American level.
With regards to the refereeing “course”, it will follow the levels and criteria recently established by the highest authority in refereeing in our sport, the World Squash Officiating (WSO). Therefore, anyone who decides to pursue a career in officiating worldwide will not face any issues when it comes time to make the leap.
The FPS Refereeing Committee is honored and extremely grateful to share in Squash Canada’s vision for the future of squash. We are also grateful to the FPS Executive Committee for their support in enabling us to make this gigantic step forward for officiating in Pan America. “We are extremely fortunate for the generosity and collaboration of Squash Canada in assigning their content and usage rights to us.” President Francisco Paradisi expressed.
On behalf of the entire Pan American Squash Federation (FPS), our most sincere and respectful thank you to Squash Canada and the entire Canadian Squash community.

Around mid-February, Squash Canada received this notice from Jeff Tulk, the president of Squash Newfoundland:
“It is with great sadness that Squash NL marks the passing of Denise Ferry on February 11. Denise had a multi-decade relationship with squash and Squash NL going back at least 30 years. She maintained her credentials as a long-time National level referee and officiated at events ranging from the Pan Am Games, to the Canadian Squash Championships, to the Canada Games, to our Provincial Championships and various local tournaments. She was also a Provincial Assessor. In addition to her officiating contribution and until her “retirement” from the Squash NL Board in 2018, Denise was the longest serving member on the Board. She could always be counted on to give a helping hand and was always available and willing to contribute with advice and encouragement, or simply to “get stuff done.” For more than 30 years, Denise was an icon to the sport of squash. She gave selflessly not only to the local squash community here in Newfoundland but also nationally and internationally. We will miss her greatly.”
Needless to say, this news saddened many of her fellow refs, among them:
Penny Glover: I am devastated to hear this news, as are so many. She was an integral part of our community and, as Graham says, was Newfoundland squash to so many of us. She probably ref'd my match when I won the Atlantic Provinces Championship in St John's in the very early 80s. We were roomies for so many tournaments and I would pick her up from Toronto airport on my way to White Oaks. I was talking to her only a couple of weeks ago and she mentioned that she had some health issues but gave no indication that anything was serious.
My thoughts go out to her brother in Toronto, our squash community and all her friends.
Tom Hori: I am so sad to hear of the passing of Denise. She will indeed be missed by everyone in the squash community in the Atlantic Region. She was a giant in officiating circles here. I will personally miss her. She was a unique individual who loved her coke. With travel restrictions, I will be unable to attend her funeral but will keep her in my memory.
Gerry Poulton: What devastating news to wake up to. I have been going to the Nationals for 50 years or so, and it is difficult to remember one without Denise. Likewise it is going to be very difficult to gather at the next one and realize that she will not be there; a great loss to our close community of officials and friends. Very, very fond memories.
Chris Mills: Very sad! I have known Denise for more than 30 years, she will be deeply missed! R.I.P. Denise
Harvey Bishop: Liz and I are so deeply saddened to wake to this news!!! We both liked Denise so much, even before squash when we grew up in St. John’s. She was a friend to all, especially her beloved “four-legged” friends!!! RIP, our friend!!!
Adeline Clements: Denise and I go back a long way in refereeing so I was saddened to hear the unexpected news of her passing. I am now thinking of all volunteering we did together, as well as the shenanigans we were up to at all the various events through the years. Friendships I made in Squash are pretty special.
Chris Yap: Very sad to get the news. RIP, Denise. Will miss you.
Graham Waters: This is terrible news. Denise was a fixture at many Canadian Championships and Canada Games and was for many years, she WAS Squash Newfoundland. R.I.P.
Debbie Coles: I am so sad to hear this. She was a real character and a truly devoted to squash and all that went with it. An unbelievable referee and volunteer. Really, a very good person. A sad week across the country. 
Bob Mansbridge: Gosh what sad news. I remember cigarettes, book to read, crosswords and no fuss no muss. She will be missed. RIP Denise 
Zal Davar: Exactly what Debbie Coles said. Sorry to see Neecy go.
Rod McDougall: That is indeed sad news. She will certainly be missed by the squash refereeing community all across Canada.
Dave Howard: Very sad. I’ve worked with Denise on more Canada Winter Games and Nationals than I’d like to admit. One of the few individuals I know that liked to kick start her day with a Coke… She’ll certainly be missed by the Squash Community.
Joe Ellis: Sue and I are very sorry to hear that Denise has passed. So very much a part of our community and a mainstay for NL. She will be missed. 
Gio PiccolinoR.I.P Denise.... you will be missed... who is going to read all those books now...
Jeff Hipfner: I'm very sad to hear that Denise has passed. I first met her while refereeing at Canada Winter Games. She was definitely an inspiration and I will miss seeing her at tournaments across Canada. My condolences to her family and the squash community in NL.
Wayne Smith: Just stunned, took awhile to take the news onboard, that Denise is no longer with us. At every Nationals, Denise worked from start of the day to the end, took on anything without question, would make the odd dry comment if a player(s) was a personality. Loved her dry humour and "that look" she gave to emphasis the comment(s). Denise loved having "her leg pulled" in jest, then that created more comments and looks from her.
Stevin: Very sad. Always looked forward to seeing and chatting with her R.I.P old friend.
Dave Clements: Very sorry to hear this. A definite loss of a dedicated volunteer and very good soul. 
Les Homme: Sad to hear of Denise’s passing. She leaves a big hole in our hearts and will be missed.
Viano Oghenekevwe: Oh that's very sad. She will be missed sorely! I have memories of Denise's cool and calm demeanor especially when I encountered her for the first time refereeing my match at the Nationals. My sincere condolences to her family and friends and all of Squash Newfoundland.
Barry Faguy: This is indeed sad news. Denise was one of those calm, cool, and collected people, almost a loner – yet not hesitant to interact. A pleasant person to be around, indeed. This leaves a great void in our officiating community.
Curtis Gillespie: Very sad. She was funny and always had a twinkly-eyed, hoarse-voiced way of giving me advice that made it clear I had ample room for improvement.
Leonard Lye: I just received news that Denise Ferry passed away at 4.45 pm this afternoon after a short illness. As you all know, she has been the cornerstone of squash in Newfoundland and has been a regular referee at many Canada Games and many national championships over many years. I hope someone from the refereeing community can let Squash Canada know of our loss.
Female Engagement

The federal government has established the goal of gender equity in sport at every level by 2035. Squash organizations at the national, provincial/territorial and community level are actively collaborating in the development and delivery of initiatives that strive to achieve that goal in our sport.
In keeping with that effort, back in early August, Squash Canada announced the launch of the Informal Mentoring Program, intended to give women in squash an opportunity to access resources, guidance, and advice from mentors across Canada. It’s a program ideal for individuals who are looking to develop their knowledge or skills, but who may not have an identifiable mentor in their network. Officiating is an included category.
You can check out much more about all this at:

Profiling Canada’s Squash Officials
Vol. 2: Wayne Smith

You can go pretty much anywhere in the squash world these days and hear the Kiwi-accented decisions of Wayne Smith overseeing play. Canadian Championships? Check. US Junior Nationals? Check. Under the bright lights of the Grand Central Terminal for the PSA’s Tournament of Champions? Check. You’ll find Wayne everywhere and anywhere, as he has become one of the most respected and trusted officials around the world. But it’s not only his officiating that has made Wayne such an iconic figure in the squash world. Here in Canada, he has mentored and taught dozens upon dozens of up and coming officials, quietly offering direction and guidance and instilling confidence in many. He has acted as Tournament Referee at numerous major events and always finds a way to help officials get better. On top of all that, he has also been very active in updating many of Squash Canada’s processes and procedures.
Wayne grew up in the farming district of Macraes Flat in rural New Zealand but started playing squash as a teenager while at high school in Wellington. He moved to Canada in 1990, but lost touch with the game until 1996, at which point he signed up again to play in the Ajax Ontario Interclub. This was his introduction to officiating, because, as with so many of us, a player had to ref the match after theirs. By this point well into his profession as an analytical process and engineering expert, he soon realized that no one in his club or his entire league was able to properly interpret the rules. In fact, most of the players had no idea what the rules were to begin with. Wayne decided to attend a Squash Ontario Refereeing course taught by Moe Shata. He passed. Moe and others encouraged him to come out to some tournaments to help out, which he did. And as Wayne says, it was onwards from there. Wayne is now a true fixture in Canadian officiating and around the globe, to the point that even the pros like to give him the gears sometimes, often because of his unique Kiwi accent.

Wayne, thanks for being such a good sport and volunteering to be grilled by In The Chair!
No worries, happy to help out wherever I can.

Tell us, what it is you like most about reffing. You have had so many different experiences.
True. I like so many things about it. But mostly I like watching the athletic skills and abilities of the players. It’s incredible. And then on top of that I like to contribute by helping the players and the tournament as a person there to facilitate a fair outcome of the match for the enjoyment of the audience.
Wise words for every official. Is there anything about officiating that you’re not quite as fond of?
I can think of one or two things! The back-chat and verbal disputes with the referee would be right up there. For me, it puts the sport in a bad light and not only that, I think it actually demeans the players themselves. And of course it creates a bad look for the audience and the sponsors.

Well said. When you look back on your time as an official, you must have had some laughs, too. Any comic moments come to mind?
I remember reffing once at I think it was the US Juniors, at Yale. A young fellow was in middle of a rally when the elastic waist band on his shorts broke! Amazingly, and with some dignity, he used one hand to hold up his shorts and the other to play shots with his racket. After the rally he asked me if he could leave the court to change his shorts and I allowed him to under the equipment failure category.

That was probably doing him and the audience a favour. What about drama? No doubt you’ve been part of some big matches.
Probably the most dramatic match I’ve ever been part of came in a WSF Men’s Tournament in 2013, in Paderborn, Germany. Simon Rosner, the German Tree-chopper, was playing Ramy Ashour. There must have been 1000 spectators. It went to five games and Rosner nearly beat Ashour. But the crowd went crazy every time I gave a decision against Rosner. Tense.

That does sound tense. How do you get “in the moment” for matches like that and in general? We all deal with tension to some degree.
For me, it’s really about getting through the first five or ten minutes of a competitive match. That’s when I feel in the zone. By then you've got the tone, the flow, a feel for the players, you’ve adjusted to the lighting, you’re seeing the ball and the tin, you’re connected to the video referee assistant. When that’s all flowing, you feel like you’re part of it and really engaged.

You’ve seen so much, are there any changes you’d make to the world of officiating if it was all up to you?
Going back to what I was saying before the back-chat, what I’d most like to see in the game is for a player, when given a decision and some words to help them understand why that decision was given, that they accept and move on. No drama and no verbals. If I could say one thing to players in general, it would just be: Behave and be professional and respectful.

Are there any players you’ve reffed who stand out? And why?!
David Palmer was somehow always behind the ball ready to play before the ball arrived! And of course Ramy Ashour, mostly for what the ball did after it came off his racket. It was usually something amazing in terms of direction, touch or positioning.
Speaking of David Palmer…any really difficult matches you can remember?!
Yes, David Palmer! Him and Wael El Hindi. They were two players where something would always occur. I could never predict what, but there would be something. The common theme between them was they always thought (correctly or not) that their opponent was doing something to hinder their own play, so they’d take their own actions. You had to identify it early on and stop it. It’s important at any level, from juniors to PSA players. With juniors you can often talk to them one on one, or with their coach, to help them understand and how to correct their movement. But if it continues, no matter how it is, then you sometimes have to resort to a public flogging with verbal directives!

Good advice! You’ve mentored so many officials in Canada and around the world. What was the best advice you were given when you were starting out?
Be yourself, bring your own style and show your skills. Don't copy or emulate others. Being a ref is fantastic, with great people, great atmosphere, lots of support. And a lot of laughs. For new refs, it’s about patience, practice and asking questions.
Squash Canada Officiating Webinars

On Tuesday February 23rd, Squash Canada hosted an Officiating Webinar called Referee Basics - Playing Without A Referee to help educate new squash players on the very basics of squash officiating and the rules. A special thank you to National Referee/Examiner Dave Howard for his work presenting.

We share the webinar below for your reference - it is on both the Squash Canada Webinars webpage and YouTube channel.

Here we are, done with this winter edition and on the verge of spring. Hopefully our summer edition will bring news of re-openings and the renewal of competitions, so that our world of squash frees itself from the shackles of this pandemic - relegating it to the department of unpleasant memories. Meanwhile, if you’ve got something to say, email Geoffrey Johnson (Squash Canada Programs Manager) at: geoff.johnson@squash.ca 

BTG Says Thank You! Thanks to Gabby Renaud for doing so much work in laying this out. to Geoffrey Johnson for his work in generating so much of this material, and to Barry Faguy for his editorial acumen.

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