Monday, July 2, 2007

Is the "grid" meaningless?

With the rash of protests recently, all of which have been either partially or totally unsuccessful, I'm left to wonder if I should just instruct my players to ignore the "grid" and/or lie on their self-rating questionaire in the future. This is NOT a commentary on whether Cuesta or Nanjappa or Guerrero should be playing at the 5.0 level or 5.5 level. When the self rating guidelines were in their infancy, we captains were led to believe that they were iron-clad. That is clearly not the case. There is obviously no penalty in trying to sneak someone in.

I tried today to protest some players in another city who I felt were obviously out of level and clearly violated the self rating guidelines. Quite blatantly, I might add. I was told "other considerations" affected the decision and that they would be allowed to play at their current rating. Huh????

I've changed my opinion on protests and self rating. Initially I was of the opinion that some leeway should be allowed for extenuating circumstances but I've changed my thinking on that. A strict adherence to the guidelines will take away any perception of impropriety. I must admit I'm now sitting here wondering WHY my protest was ignored. There is supposedly a committee which helps Tosha Smith with her protests. Why are these names not public? I can't help but get the feeling that these things are decided in smoky back rooms and are based, at least in part, on who knows who and not on players' playing history.

59 comments:

  1. Who were the protests against? Zac Brunsman and Kevin Durten are two huge 4.5 ringers that have been mentioned in here from other cities. Were they protested?

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  2. Zac Brunsman played for Colin County Junior College which makes him eligible to Self Rate a 4.5. Kevin Durten played for UT Dallas and played some 5.0 League in 2003 and should not have been able to Self Rate as a 4.5 but must have slipped under the Radar. Both these players are Solid.

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  3. I don't want to say who the players were, but suffice it to say that they were players who had absolutely no chance of playing against any of my teams. I just felt that it was ridiculous for one of those players to be playing that level, especially when the possibility exists that he will tank his way down yet another level.

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  4. It is clear that captains who spend their time thinking about protesting players have very little else to think about in their sad lives. Having good players in the league is beneficial to everyone involved, and only in very obvious circumstances such as a current tour professional or current nationally ranked junior aspiring to become professional should any comment even be made. Tennis is a competitive game at the 4.5 and 5.0 level. Dealing with losses to good players is part of tennis at these levels. Stop acting like there is a right and wrong with regards to protests. It is stupid and trivial and poor sportmanship and indicative of poor losers. Get with it. Spend your time practicing instead of blogging stupid things like this and maybe you wont have to feel like someone is so much better than you that you need to protest. Geez, you ever read that book, "everything i ever need to know i learned in kindergarten"? If not, its a good start.

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  5. To answer the question, the grid is meaningless if it isn't enforced, or worse, selectively enforced. But remember the grid is titled "Guidelines". Aren't guidelines a little lower on the tennis food chain than "Rules"? It seems like some of the guidelines are overly restrictive, but some are overly lenient. They're just too broad to apply to every player. For example, I (4.0)recently beat a current D2 college player. Under the guidelines, he should self rate 4.5 until he turns 36, but by that time, he will be 3.5. I also know that some JUCO players are no better than 3.5 now, and some are 5.0 at least. Does anyone know if the guidelines have the authority of rules? It would seem not to me.

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  6. I think the guidelines shouldn't be set in stone, and they probably should look at protests on a case by case basis. Tyler and Collin County junior college aren't indicative of junior college in general. Nobody less than 5.0 plays on those teams. However there are many juco's with 3.5 and 4.0 players. Same goes for division 2 and 3 to a lesser extent. D1 especially in the south is more cut and dry. If you are winning D1 matches you are going to be 5.5 or better the majority of the time. But of course there are instances where weaker teams have 4.5 and 5.0 players playing. Usta isn't going to spend much time on improving this and probably doesn't care to. Usta league is always going to be very flawed and captains that choose to do so will always be able to bend and break rules. But it is sad that usta makes these self rating guidelines and then ignores them completely. Bottom line if you are fed up with ringers in usta just don't play their league or play and realize you will lose to sandbagging teams full of ringers.

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  7. I think it's correct that they are guidelines only. Plus, you have to consider all the players who self rated before the guidelines were in plance, you've got a huge population of "grandfathered" players out there. If the guidelines were enforced as rules we would have seen a lot more DQ's the past few years.

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  8. Yeah but the grandfathered players had their ratings generated from actual results.

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  9. This is a comment in response to how David B. got into a played match. You Tim Green/ Red Benzon conspiracy theorists are going to feel validated. The match David B. played doubles with Red Benzon was played on 6-1-07 as listed in tennis link, and was scheduled for 5-10-07. The score was reported on 6-28-07. David B. was just written in over someone else who actually played since he wasn't added to the team until later on in June. http://tennislink.usta.com/leagues/reports/TennisLinkReports.asp?Level=M&MatchID=1000144772

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  10. Is Red Benzon really as much of a sore loser and pathetic lonely sole as everyone makes him out to be? Surely he has an excuse, such as poor upbringing or feelings of insecurity at his personal lack of achievement. I think a lot of people feel sorry for him.

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    1. Yes, he is a lonely soul with imaginary friends. Just give him the Damn award, the trip to Indian Wells , the prize money, and run run run like your hair is on fire!

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  11. It doesn't matter if the gride has meaning or not. The questions that appear when self-rated are geared around the grid. If, for example, you are a D1 player and somehow manager to self-rate as a 4.4 player, you LIED. It is IMPOSSIBLE to self-rate as a 4.5 player if you played D1 and under a certain age. If you are able to do this, it means you are a LIAR. If you feel there are circumstances which would support self-rating below the guidelines you need to get an acceptance from the Section prior to entering the league. There still needs to be sanctions against an illegal player, whether or not they're allowed a waiver.

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  12. What's worse, lying or pulling a Cambon. As in Daniel Cambon Red's buddy who shamelessly tanks himself down.

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  13. The Hangovers are not out of it yet!!! Since the Yutts defaulted five lines to Kingwood, the other scores for that round should get thrown out. This will give the Hangovers a 5-0 victory instead of a 4-1. If I (Tim) can come back and beat Omon in my make-up singles match, Kingwood would beat us 3-2. This would make the season team wins/losses a tie at 7-2 each. Individual wins would also be tied at 34 for each team with 11 individual losses. The Hangovers will have 25 sets lost with Kingwood having 28 sets lost. This would give the Hangovers first place. It will be tough since Omon is up 7-6, 5-5 and Tim Serving at 40-15, but stranger things have happened.

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  14. Tim, that's the wrong strategy. You need to lose and come out in 2nd place. That pool is A LOT easier in the city playoffs.

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  15. It's true, sources have confirmed that Red Benzon has put in a protest on Jorge Cuesta. Maybe with all of the countless permutations, he thinks his team can still make it to Sectionals. NOT.

    Is he being paid to be this much of an @sshole, or is he just naturally gifted?

    Red, people are not laughing WITH you...they are laughing AT you!

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  16. Well when is someone going to protest Guerrero? Is Red the only guy allowed to protest in USTA? He will use that guy on his next dream team if someone doesn't step in.

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  17. tim, when are you and omon finishing that match up?

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  18. Omon is injured. Expect stalling tactics.

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  19. It does seem that Red has a lot of access to the inner workings of the USTA Texas Section. Is it just me, or shouldn't the process be more transparent?

    If the captains are partly responsible for policing, then make the information more readily available to ALL and not selected individuals. The way it is right now is too much like the old KGB; it comes down to who you know.

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  20. This is getting Old, DQ the Self Rates who lied on there questionnaires and let's play some tennis. Yang and Benzon are 4.5's at best and shouldn't even be in the 5.0 League.They both need ringers to carry them to Victory.

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  21. Red may indeed have access to the inner workings of the USTA. There is a Cindy Benzon who works for the Texas Section. Her title is Tennis Service Representative, Southeast Region. Is this Red's wife?

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  22. No Cindy is not his wife, she is a represantitive for the USTA and has no relationship to him whatsoever.

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  23. Isn't it true that Red owes money to a lot of people in Houston? I heard this thru the grapevine and I was wondering if anyone else has a comment on this

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  24. Houston needs more players/captains like Red, Tim, Yang, and Freeman!!!!

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  25. no it is not true.

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    1. Yes , it IS true.He owes Cuong Nguyen $25,000...and Sjoberg over $100,000,and there are others, many others. The message board wardens will erase this post though. What do you people think? That he is REALLY a "trust fund baby" as he claims ? LOL. Do some research.

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    2. Hi Red. Do you use that name so no one can look up your real information under Meredith Ian Benzon ?

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  26. I agree, that Freeman captain-guy is awesome!!!!

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  27. Still Not FreemanJuly 2, 2007 at 6:31 PM

    He is also sexy!

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  28. You guys stop it....I'm just another run-of-the-mill Vince Lombardi, Phil Jackson-type Houston captain that happens to get confused with Brad Pitt on a regular basis (or maybe it is more like George Costanza)....that's it, nothing more.

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  29. In a previous post someone said Freeman would be losing some of his Doubles players, is this true? Seems like he has a very good team without the out of level ringers in 4.5 and 5.0. Nice to know we have one good team representing Houston this year locally.

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  30. Freeman, also has a team in 3.5 and hear that they have a really good shot to go all the way. That's awesome that he might have 2 good teams going to Sectionals.

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  31. So, Freeman gets At-A-Boys for having a National-hopeful team and Green/Benzon get ragged on. Is it because this is mostly a 4.5/5.0 blog. If Freeman were captain of a "ringer" 4.5 or 5.0 team would everyone be bashing on him too? Because, let's face it, everyone knows you've gotta have a few ringers (legit or not) to make it to Nationals.

    I have known Red and Tim almost since I started playing tennis. I've seen a lot of accusations flying around on this blog but it seems like a lot of speculation to me. I've yet to see any hardcore proof. If any of it is true, it certainly would change my opinion of them. I know that Red has called me on a few occasions asking about rules or the legality of some players. But, I have never witnessed or suspected outright cheating or lying.

    I have protested players before. I advocate the DNTRP system and believe in trying to maintain its integrity. Even if it is true that Red is behind the apparent protests, he is acting within his rights to do so. What actual rule has he violated?

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    1. ..never witnessed any cheating or lying????? From Red Benzon? REALLY??? I guess you are right. He'll just steal your credit cards or cash, and he'll only lie about, well EVERYTHING pertaining to himself....but you're right....tennis is far too important to lie about. You people have lost your minds!!!

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  32. The rule of good sportmanship.

    He is perfectly within his rights to protest self-rated players and that would be OK only if he wasn't also adding even bigger sandbaggers to his team.

    If you don't see the difference, then maybe you need to recalculate your sense of sportmanship. We all want to win, but most of us would also like to keep our dignity and self respect.

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  33. Everyone out there has a right as well to protest players if they feel Red is adding illegal players. Believe me, I'm not in the Benzon/Green fan club. I just don't understand the animosity towards them. He's not doing anything that you can't do. If you feel Red is adding players that don't belong at that level, then protest them.

    My only point in my previous post is that a lot of people out there seem to be angry, even indignant, that Red and Tim seem to always have a good team - possibly even a Nationals-bound team - No different than Freeman's 3.5 and 4.0 teams. So, why is Freeman praised while Red and Tim are scorned.

    Honestly, I don't know if Freeman's teams are loaded with ringers or not. I really don't follow the 3.5/4.0 league that closely. Just glancing at the 4.0 team, the only thing that stood out to me is that a lot of the players are not from Houston. No one says anything about that. He's not breaking any rules, just as Red is not in filing protests. But, having more than 4 players out of the city indicates to me that Freeman is a captain who wants to win by recruiting the best players possible.

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  34. Freeman is not losing people on the 4.0 team. A few of us played on both the HTA and NoHo team and it was decided before the season started that if we both were fortunate enough to make it this far (next level) that some people would play for one team and some the other.

    Any loss of headcount was decided long ago. There are no egos "in play".

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  35. That's cool, now all we have to do is check IDs on all of the players in the playoffs because we don't know the out-of-towners and the other obvious they all look alike thing.

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  36. What happened to the tennis? With all of the protesting and complaining, doesn't anything get settle on the court any more?

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  37. I agree with Betsie. I know I've been accused of being too much of a Tim/Red backer, but I'm sure those who know me know I'm not rooting for their team to win citywides.

    HOWEVER, to me, the prescription for getting a great team is to get great computer rated players and great self rateds who are playing within the guidelines. As far as I know (excluding Guerrero) Tim and Red have done just that.

    The only thing that seems a little fishy to me is David B. appearing in that match, but I don't know any specifics about it so I'm not going to make accusations or anything like that. If it turns out he didn't play or that they shoved him in there after lineups were exchanged or whatever, I'll be the first to say that's cheating with a capital C.

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  38. Tim lost the match to Dibua in a 3rd set tiebreaker 10-7.
    Okay things are set for the 4.5 playoff matchups next week. If I'm not mistaken in Round Robin#1 It will be Shhwinng, Sugar Creek, and Hangovers. In Round Robin#2 It will be Kingwood,Jedi Knights and Westside's Black Sheep

    Thursday 1st round matchups are Hangovers vs Sugarcreek and Westside Black Sheep vs Jedi Knights

    Saturday Afternoon it will be Hangovers vs Shhhwinng and Kingwood Crush vs WSTC Black Sheep

    Sunday Morning it will be Shhwinng vs Sugarcreek and Kingwood Crush vs WSTC Black Sheep

    Let the Games Begin.............

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  39. As a captain, if I am taking myself seriously (believe it or not, I actually do take some things seriously) I think it is part of my responsibility to look out for my team. In the past I have found it in my team's best interest to protest other players...but only if I had evidence to prove it (not in a crybaby "I can't beat you so you must be cheating" way).

    Sometimes I knew of players and captains that were cheating but it was in my team's best interest to ignore it. However, had it ever been in my team's best interest to protest I would have done so in a second.

    This year I did protest one guy in the Valley (Alex Pacheco) although I knew I had no shot at winning it. I was hoping to accomplish a couple of things but mainly I just wanted to test whether or not a "T" rating was protected as a "computer rating" for protest purposes.....I found that it is considered a valid computer rating.

    So, protesting itself, is a useful and necessary tool for captains who are monitoring the city/sectional/national landscape of their respective division.

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  40. Red owes money to most of Houston. Ask Cuong Nguyen, Linda Mcinvale, Amy Nguyen, Phong Regent, Minh Nguyen, Carlos Roger, Brian Goldberg, Ken Sjoberg, Dave Kaminsky, Tuan Tran, Brad from Tennis Express, Francis MAglalang (Red's Cousin).

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    1. Can I just add, that Francis is NOT Red Benzon's cousin. And yes, Red does owe money.

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    2. Whats up with Red Benzon owing people money?Who and how much does he owe money to?His reputation is only going to get worse as more people come forward and tell how this guy stole whatever he could get away with.

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  41. Freeman, I'm with you. The women's side is not nearly as corrupt as the men's side seems to be (according to this blog). I've seen some pretty blatant cheating but don't concern myself with it unless it will harm my team. I recruit great players with the hopes and promise of accomplishing great things - I have an obligation to my team to do whatever it takes to get us there.

    Plus, great players are seeking great teams and will attract other great players to your team.

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  42. From Ken Burkhart:

    I put the date of 6/1/2007 on the date reported because the lines were made up individually and played on 5 different dates. I thought it was more important to enter the scores than worry about the date. But I have forgotten how anal people are here. (I dont know how I could have....)

    David B. played a match against Daniel and Miguel. A match that Herb was supposed to play and couldn't. The rules state that if a point has not been played, you can substitute. The match was played after I personnally added him on the roster.

    Cheryl contacted me the day after I posted the score and said someone didnt like the fact that I put 6/1/07. It was my mistake thinking since the matches were played across 5 different days it was a meaningless date. What I love is it was a bogus email account that emailed Cheryl in protest of the dates.. classy.

    I have several issues with the way our flight ended up, even some that were brought to light on this blog. As far as David B. goes, he is computer rated, played a match and has 2 defaults. Within the rules, he is elligable.

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  43. From Ken "I cant spell worth a DANG!!" Burkhart:

    It's eligible not elligable. Elligable is the Australian word for "The bloke can play."

    This Blog should really come with a spell checker. And personally, I think that personally should have 2 n's.

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  44. Great players with any self respect aren't looking to sandbag with other sandbaggers. This is 4.5 remember. We are beginning to master shots and tactics according to USTA definitions. According to Betsie and Ken that definition also includes to D1 college players and satelite professionals. It is disappointing to have to deal with teams like this but some people are so obsessed with winning they miss the big picture. Betsie if you are so big on having great players and doing great things play in an open level league.

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  45. "beginning to master shots and tactics"

    Name me ONE 4.5 tournament winner this year that falls under that description.

    Name me ONE finalist of a tournament this year that falls under that description.

    These guidelines were created decades ago and haven't been updated since. Bottom line, you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    If you would have been outside of Houston/Texas for league tournaments, you would see that our definition of a “sandbagging” 4.5 doesn’t even come close to the top 4.5 players from other states.

    The entire nation has a higher expectation of a 4.5. So is it the entire nation that is having the problem or the guy that can’t regularly compete even against non “sand bagging” 4.5s? You probably cursed into the wind asking to bring back wood racquets years ago.

    Every sport evolves and raises the bar over time. The average Football player, across the entire league, is stronger, faster and smarter than those a decade ago. The same can be said for Baseball, Basketball and even professional, college and yes, recreational tennis.

    Every sport raises the bar, so put down your keyboard, put down the donut, step away from the blog and practice.

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  46. Actually, greatness is a relative word. You obviously are reading greatness as a purist and perceive it to mean THE GREATEST in the land and most likely those players should not be playing 4.5 - they are probably pros. I only live with the rules, I don't make them. If there are currently former D1 players who hold a 4.5 computer rating then most would consider them "great" in the world of 4.5 tennis - especially women's tennis. I'll get them on my team every time and not lose any sleep over it.

    For the record, I have 2 players who just joined my HTA team who are former D1 players. You don't see them on my USTA team.

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  47. I have a pretty good suspicion that the blogger himself would not be a 4.5 player according to his own set-in-stone definition of a 4.5 player. So, aren't you the pot calling the kettle black.

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  48. Congrats to Kingwood for coming in first place. See you guys two sundays from now.

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  49. Back in '96 I won three 4.5 major zones and finished #1 in the state. An open level friend of mine said "Congratulations, you're King of the dipshits" that pretty much sums it up.

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  50. Even with the hangovers recent questionable additions, the trio of Hurlbert and the Dibuas is too much for anyone to overcome. They will be the winners. The Hangovers have been nothing but hype all year and may not even make it too sectionals at this rate.

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  51. Puhleeze. Kingwood does not have chance against the Hangovers and everyone knows it. Even Green almost beat a Dibua. 'Nuf said.

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  52. WOW!!!! A gracious comment for Kingwood, however, i doubt there was much sincerity behind it.

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