There are no volunteer jobs as thankless as the captainship of a women's tennis team. Well, maybe one - the presidency of a condo association. But that will have to wait for a future post.
The men who play on tennis teams take orders. They're used to it from playing on teams growing up and from their professional lives. I saw this firsthand, when Charley was a captain.
Not so for the women. I've been there. Women want their MONEY'S WORTH. If they pay, they want to play. Which is why women's teams often create their own RULES.
A men's team captain assigns a partner and a position to each man on his team each week. If a player voices complaint, he's benched for that match. There is no recourse. Accept or quit.
If a woman does not want to play with a particular teammate in a match, she will call the captain and tell her - often at 9 p.m. "You refuse to play with Joan? Well, which teammate would you like to play with?" The captain must play psyhchologist with female emotions, but must be subtle. Never can she state outright that the caller isn't half the player her partner is, and that she should slide down a few positions. Instead, the captain reshuffles the team to accommodate demands and listens to late-night calls about the weaknesses of other teammates. Which leads to the most important rule for a women's captain to institute: no calls unless initiated by HER!
There is also the matter of positioning for the women, since six positions may play in any given match. Can self-worth really be at stake if a player moves down from fourth to fifth position? Is this a job, on the pro circuit? The captain must be careful to move a partnership up, if they have won consistently (three or more times), and split the partnership, if they have lost consistently. Otherwise, there will be complaints from the winning partnership which wants to rise to the top, or those underneath who want to move above a losing partnership.
Which leads to another written or unwritten RULE for women's teams: either the pro, or the pro with team officers, will determine the lineups for matches every week. That way, the captain's not got her you-know-what hanging out there to dry.
In order to figure out who's won and who's lost, charts are often kept. Which leads to another RULE: those in the bottom _______(fill in the blank) percentage of wins at the end of the season will have to try out again for the team, along with new signees. Now there's a scene - the tryouts. Picture high school cheerleading drama without the pimples!
There is often a RULE regarding team clinics. The clinics may be mandatory once a week. Well, the depressed economy blew that one, since clinic fees are extra and many players can no longer afford them.
And still another RULE for many women's teams: a player must be present for seventy-five percent of the matches. Players often take off weeks at a time on vacation and snowbirds sometimes don't return to Florida till after the holidays, when the matches are almost half over. The captain ends up replacing players with school-aged children, if they can hold a racket. Hence the rule.
Then there's the matter of unsportsmanlike conduct during match play. There is a polite method to question bad line calls. If players continue to be obnoxious (with several facelifts, an attitude, and continued bad calls), a RULE states that play may be discontinued while linespeople are found. Linespeople, ideally, should consist of one member of each team, who stand at the side of the court during the rest of the match. However, they must remain mute unless asked to speak!
There are RULES to file grievances against another team or another team's player. A form must be filled out by the captain, with a check sent in to the league. This must be done within a week of the incident. The league must respond within a week of being contacted. If the grievance is not received within the stated time frame, the Board of the league will not consider the issue and the check will not be returned! If the unruly player hangs around the league through a second and third grievance against her, SHE WILL BE REMOVED FOR THE DURATION OF THE SEASON!! Imagine? By then, if the captain has not taken matters into her own hands, the team should elect a new captain!
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.