Sunday, November 4, 2007

Forfeit Etiquette/ Protocol -- What do you think?

I had an experience this week with one of the captains from the league that I need to share.

I guess I am using this writeup as an attempt to remind people how their actions affect others. I realize that everyone had a family, job and then is a tennis player and sometimes tennis does not get the attention that it needs as you have to have a job to pay for tennis as none of us our playing for big checks on Sundays (unless you play for Freeman, he pays well...just kidding)

Communication/ Match arrangement:

The way I understand the "captain protocol" is that the visiting captain is supposed to contact the home captain to confirm/arrange stuff for the coming week. I really don't mind just shooting out a quick email about when/where etc if I am home or away.

Here is what happened this week:
1. Email sent on Monday about playing all 4 lines at the scheduled time.
2. Follow up email sent on Thursday. I realize not everyone has a crackberry or sits in front of a monitor all day (giving the benefit of the doubt).
3. Phone message on Friday at both numbers listed on HTA directory.
4. Follow up phone calls on Sunday AM to both numbers listed on HTA directory.

All through the week I did not get a response. I had to "plan for success" so I had my team ready to go and 8 people showing up to play.

There is no co-captain, so I did not have a second person to contact through all of this. I almost starting randomly contacting people on their roster to see if they were going to play, but I did have stuff to do this weekend and should not have to work this hard to set up a match.

I finally received a call 40 minutes prior to the match start time telling me to call him and when I did I was told that they would not be able to have any lines play this evening.

WTF? these were the first 3 words out of my mouth.

As a captain, I fully understand that there are times when your players leave you with little or no notice and you must forfeit a line, but at this point I was already in the car. At 520p, people are already en route to the courts to play the match.

I guess my frustration is not that all 4 lines did not play, but that people's time is VERY VALUABLE and with such little notice, people had already arranged for babysitters, have foregone other plans, etc to play tennis.

We ended up getting in a scrimmage, so we got to play, but this is just a frustrating situation that can be avoided in the future with a little pro-active communication.

My lessons learned are:
  1. Never assume that the guy on the other end of the email/phone is as organized as you are and if you have not received confirmation from them, assume the match is off.

My advice is:
  1. Have a co-captain. You have a plethora of people on your roster that can help out when you are out of contact of email and/or phone. I am sure one of them can help.
  2. Have an "auto-reply" feature on your email that says "Hey douchetard, I am dropping acid in the desert with Jim Morrison and don't expect to hear back from me until after my trip is over."
  3. Have a "out of office" feature on your VM that tells someone that your are gone and to not expect a call from you until your acid trip is over with.

I hope my message comes across clear and resonates with anyone that has ever been on the receiving end of this.

How could HTA change the regulations to shape people's behavior to avoid this?

  • Hit them in the wallet... I have read and heard of some leagues that make the team post a $100 "bond" that if they forfeit, the other team gets some or all of the bond...My question is, should HTA look into this? Just a thought. There a many logistical nightmares that could be induced if they did do this.
My questions to the community are:

Should I be as pissed as I am? I guess my frustration stems not from the fact that I was contacted so late, but that I had to hustle to get a full lineup anyways. People had to skip stuff with their family to come play, then they show up and there is no opponent!

For those who really want to know who I am referring to, it won't take a research scientist to figure out who I am talking about. I have never met this captain as his team is new to our flight and I am sure he is a really nice fellow, but it is not cool to do this to someone.

Who wants to see a monetary amount posted in some escrow account that if you never forfeit you never lose it, but if you forfeit your opponents get some of your bling for not showing up?

I will get off of my soap-box now. LMK what you think.


  1. AMEN!

    Some of us come from far away, like Ft Worth, to play HTA. Our time need not be wasted

  2. It was David Hall, wasn't it?

  3. Im pretty sure it was a Mixed Match which really stinks for Chris because everyone on Sundays really do go out of there way to make time to play but,as you can see people just don't have proper tennis etiquette when it all boils down to it.

  4. Teams that fall under this "poor captaining etiquette": Jedi Knights, Ball Busters, SugarCreek (mens and mixed). Scheduling a league match with these guys is like pulling teeth. DON"T RUN A TEAM IF YOU CAN"T HANDLE THE DUTIES! Have some respect for the other captains out there.

  5. has tennis turned into street basketball? bad etiquette, bunch of trash talking, fighting, cheating, and poor sportsmanship.

  6. Street BB meets league tennis. That would be awesome, can you imagine a guy on a mike commentating on the match. "You call that a 2nd serve", "my mom has a bigger forehand", "he treated that lob like a red headed step child." Maybe some pumped in crowd noise. I wish there was more trash talking on the court for fun sakes.

  7. If you are captaining an HTA team you should know going in that very few captains take it serious and that by the tale end of the season there will be more and more last minute defaults. I have captained for over 7 years in both singles and doubles and just live with it. But I applaud the 2 hours you must have spent typing that post. If there is someone traveling down from Fort Worth just to play HTA League, that is downright sad. Tennis in Fort Worth can be that hard to come by.