Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tennis Dilemma

The rules in tennis are quite different than in most competitive sports. As most people know, tennis is referred to as a "gentleman's" game. The implication is that it is a friendly, well mannered challenge between competitors.
Through the years this has translated into official matches being played - even professional ones- with each side making their own calls - at times to the detriment of their opponent. Now, some players will argue that "most people are honest" meaning, most people won't cheat you.
But, I believe the reality to be something different.

I believe that tennis brings out the ultimate essence of a person. For instance, if a person is dishonest in their "real life" then I believe that this comes out in their tennis game. If a person is cagey and manipulative in real life than this is what they bring to the court.
In each match, their can be hundreds of points played and EACH point requires a line call. Some points are obvious - they sail out of the court, they hit the net. But, the ones that hit the back line, the balls that are hit so hard and fast, these are the questionable ones.

Additionally, there are other rules in tennis that also can cause one party to "abuse" their position. Today's topic is the rule in NH High School tennis about "coaching on the court". The rules allow for a designated coach to coach players in between points or games, as long as they don't interrupt the flow of the game.
So, define "interrupt the flow of the game"? Well, the rules do not do this.

We have a match scheduled against a team where the coach not only coaches throughout the match, but he calls the girls back between each point and tells them what to do constantly. A single match can take 2 hours! With 3 shifts of matches, we will be there for over 6 hours! This is ridiculous and painful and wrong.
Other coaches have warned me about the offender, explaining to me that they have repeatedly reminded him of the rules.

There is also no official on the court.

According to the rules, I am supposed to bring up the issue with the offending coach. If he continues to exhibit the behavior, I am to continue to let it happen and file a grievance. Then and only AFTER the match is complete, I have 24 hours to notify the authorities who will then make a judgment for or against my complaint.
If I "win" the complaint, I will be allowed to replay the match at my expense! No where does it say that the offending coach will be ordered to stop what he is doing. There will be no official, so we will have to replay the match - under the same conditions!

If I chose to discuss the violation with the offending coach and then decide to pack up the girls and leave because he is in repeated violation of the rules - the NH Athletic Association will rule that I FORFEITED the match.

So, I am quite frustrated with this situation.


DamianC said...

could you give him a dose of his own medicine. I mean if there is no exact time limit for coaching in the game, then do the same, make him wait it out. You could "review" the entire rule book with your girls, then maybe the other coach may get tired of the whole thing and come to some kind of "agreement" with you.
Otherwise could you get an official on the court for this match?

Laurie said...

I was thinking the same idea, but standing directly next to him on the court and coaching like he is. I'd annoy him just as badly so he gets the idea. (or I'd pack up and leave)

Laurie said...

My response was snarky because that coach would make me feel that way. But of course in reality I'd probably be more apt to just try talking to him, sticking it out, and then filing a complaint (and letting him know during the game I'd be filing one if he didn't stop). Good luck with it.

DannyB said...

Thanks for your advice...
I am going to try
Plan A - catching him in the act and chatting with him. if that doesn't work
Plan B - chatting with him and then letting him know that I will be filing a complaint
Plan C - packing up the girls, filing the complaint and explaining that I accept the forfeiture, but could not continue to spend my time on the court as such!
Thanks for your advice. I don't have the patience to wait it out! (you know me!)