Patti Klecha-Porter, head coach of field hockey, assistant women's squash coach, director of the Wesleyan Adult Fitness Program, will be umpiring during the World Cup women's lacrosse championships in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Bill Welsh)
By Brian Katten, sports information director
Q: We understand that you will be umpiring during the World Cup women’s lacrosse championships in Prague, Czech Republic in June. How did this opportunity come about?
A: The World Cup is every four years. I have been at the last two World Cups representing the U.S. as an umpire in 2001 and 2005. U.S. umpires must apply and are ranked within our country. The number-one ranked umpire is an automatic umpire for the World Cup. This year, that’s me. Each country submits their candidates. A committee of IFL (International Federation Lacrosse) makes the final decision.
Q: How long have you been umpiring women’s lacrosse? Where and how did your interest start?
A: After playing collegiate field hockey and lacrosse (at Ithaca College) I joined a lacrosse club called Hampshire. We played on Sundays and umpired our own games. I have been umpiring since 1985, received my district rating (college umpiring) in 1987, my national rating in 1991 and my International rating in 1997.
Q: You have done numerous NCAA tournament games, including this year’s NCAA Division III championship between Franklin & Marshall and Salisbury. Can you identify some of your more memorable experiences as an umpire?
A: I have been very fortunate to umpire some incredible games. The most memorable games have been the contests that are played so tightly. Everything is there – speed, power, quickness, precision passing, tight defense, and the match up of players is right on. These games leave everyone on an incredible emotion after the contest. I have seen them at all levels, high school, college and international.
Q: You were a very successful two-sport athlete at Ithaca College, you have been head coach of field hockey at Wesleyan since 1985 and you umpire women’s lacrosse. Can you describe how you derive satisfaction from the different venues?
A: I love to compete. As a coach I can see the hard work players put in at practice to compete as a whole. There success is due to the effort and concentration it takes to win. I thrive on improvement from our players and see them use their skills under pressure wisely. My role as a coach is to prepare our team for the contest, make practice more difficult than a game, rehearse special plays. On game day, I like to play to our teams strengths and find our opponents weakness. Nothing is better then calling a corner play and the team executes it to perfection. I also want our players to respect the game, play with passion and play all out.
When I umpire I appreciate the athlete who is strong, balanced, skilled and respectful of the rules. When I umpire I enjoy the run, the ability to anticipate where the pass is going next, where I can go to get in the best position to call the game. Just like coaching I analyze every game and go over it to improve for the next game.
I hold a level II field hockey rating (collegiate) and push our players to be knowledgeable about the rules. In both areas I push our athletes to consider coaching and umpiring!
Q: You also coordinate local umpiring of girls high-school lacrosse, don’t you? Please tell us about your activity in that area?
A: I am the Chair for the CWLOA and I am in charge of the umpires in Connecticut. I teach new umpires, refresh veteran umpires and then train advance umpires for collegiate level. I serve as the rule interpreter for Conn.
Q: You have three children and a husband who works in the West Hartford school district. Tell us a little about them. Do they ever get to make these international excursions with you?
A: I can not thank my family enough. I have been so fortunate to be able to umpire in the off season. Sometimes we have taken a family trip in which I am dropped off to umpire for the day, the family meets up with me later, and off we go to a night event. In Canada the family went to the zoo all day, I umpired and then we went to the Toronto Blue Jays game at night.
Our oldest Nathan is attending Ithaca College, majoring in physics and is into Triathlalons. Andrew a junior in high school and plays baseball. Our daughter Logan is an eighth grader. She enjoys softball. My husband Scott is the music director at Conard High School and has taken several tours with his jazz band. We share tour ideas, and fundraising. We all look forward to the summer for family time.
Q: With so much going on in your life around athletics, do you have time for any hobbies? If so, what attracts your attention?
A: I do enjoy gardening and bass fishing. Growing up on a dairy farm that still is in operation today I tend to still see if I can throw the bales of hay, pick fruit and milk! The country life recharges me every visit.