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Joel Drucker: League Tennis - Troubled but Redeemable

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about the poison around league tennis. Much dialogue was triggered – email notes, Facebook comments, phone calls, conversations.

Many indeed agreed with my assessment. More sad stories surfaced. There was the tale of the doubles duo who, upon learning the team match had been decided, opted to tank their match so that they could ensure their NTRP rating would stay low enough. There was the story of the player who became a captain so that she could always pair herself with the best possible partner. And what about those who simply can’t afford the time or money to go to the nationals? Or the way league tennis takes up so much court time at clubs that it becomes the de facto community at many facilities?

When it came to the matter of stacking doubles teams, I was told by one player, “There isn’t a rule that says you can’t do this.” My, must we craft legislation for everything? I will continue to advocate for my solution: pairings are pulled randomly out of a hat. Advocating for this will be the start of my non-violent campaign to reform league tennis.

And yet, for all those problems, league tennis has a lot going for it. It’s comfortable, convenient, engaging – downright healthy. In other words, it’s worth the effort to make it better. Why not? For many tennis zealots I encounter – from pro events to public parks – the controllable fate of their own tennis destiny is deeply compelling.

Read more articles by Joel Drucker

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