competitive etiquette threshold question

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by DeShaun, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Say, you throw down what for you is a very nice second serve. Nothing too overpowering, but easily 70 mph with decisive kick, directed at you opponent's body. And the ball lands so far in the service box that, before jumping, it appears to eclipse, visibly obscuring, nearly the entire width of the service line. And your opponent were already uttering the thing which is traveling 70mph to have been "long" or "out" precisely while it is exiting the service box, reaching for no mans land.

    If you were quite sure that your serve had landed in, and your opponent had "mistakenly" missed the call, would you consider it acceptable to "reward" yourself a "makeup" call? This would seem a reasonable way of policing unsportsmanlike opponents, of restoring any perceived imbalance in the score that may have arisen due to their myopia.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
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  2. Winky

    Winky Guest

    where I'm from we drag 'em down an alley and clobber 'em with baseball bats, but that might or might not meet your definition of "sporting."

    I donno man, I donno... self-policing competitive sports are never easy to deal with. It's always a race to who can cheat the most, because if you don't cheat at all you will be beaten by those who do, all other things being equal.

    There are no easy answers.
     
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  3. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Only recently I have been experimenting with restorative call. It has decreased my pure joy from playing tennis, but coincided with my increased winning. It is not the reason why I took up tennis: to "win!" But it seems that, the more I practiced, the more social tennis became. And the more social it become, the more actual matches I played. And the more I have played, the more I am wanting to win.
     
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  4. dudeman01

    dudeman01 New User

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    Most people probably don't set out to cheat, get even, or think about making "restorative" calls at the start of a tennis match. But in the heat of competition you may feel there were too many close calls that didn't go your way. Your calls become as generous or stingy as your opponent because you know your opponent is the sole arbitrator of line calls. The rule says when in doubt, you always call the ball in. But the degree of generosity on calls is still subjective. I've captained teams where experienced guys on my team police against opponents who hook them by making what I call discretionary calls - that is, when given the opportunity, the ball is "close enough" to be out and a reasonably justifiable or defensible, those balls are out against a stingy or a cheating opponent.
     
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  5. SweetH2O

    SweetH2O Rookie

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    I wouldn't call my side of the court any differently until I was positive that my opponent was cheating on purpose, which I've never gotten to that point. Most of the time I just assume that my opponent made an honest mistake, or possibly seeing what they wanted to see and made the call.

    I'm sure my calls are not always perfect either, so it all evens out unless you let it get to you too much. It's just part of recreational tennis.
     
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  6. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    You ask about cheating in an thread with etiquette in the subject line? Just because you disagreed with 1 call? Seriously?
     
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  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    No, I don't cheat if I suspect my opponent is cheating.

    The Tennis Gods frown on that sort of thing. If you do it, they will cause you to blow out your knee or shoulder or something awful.
     
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  8. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Ill make a generalization I've discovered. The weaker players I play question in balls. Call close balls out. Have to look at marks on the hartru before they can call balls out. For those guys I don't care. I school them anyways. Its basically me practicing killing short balls and crushing service returns. The less skilled guys that always challenge me to a match just want to beat me really bad as I am the top of my club ladder. So they want the win over me really bad. The guys I play who are at my tennis level we never have line call issues. We are both out here to compete and win by shot making and strategy over a disciplined and tough opponent. We call the balls to the best of our ability and the tennis played determines the outcome.
    When it takes you 60 seconds to decide if the ball i just clearly saw hit the line on a down the line appoach is in or out the ball is in. They will look for a mark and say i dont see a mark on the hartru... ummm.... i say to them it landed on the line. The better players never take that long in my experience. We all know when we were beat on a shot. Some guys just wont accept it and try to justify cheating by hemming and hawing and breaking out the forensics kit.
     
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  9. dafox

    dafox Rookie

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    I could not agree with this more! I have had the same experience in the tennis ladder group that I play on. The biggest cheaters are the least skilled players (like 3.5/4.0 guys).
     
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  10. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    That is quite the generalization. Being a lowly, "less skilled" 3.0 and having been hooked by a 4.0 in mixed matches on more than one occasion, I can assure you that gaining tennis skills does not improve your character or your sense of fair play.

    By your logic, it must be just about impossible to get a fair line call from a 2.5.

    It's funny how people always attribute negative characteristics to groups they are not a part of.

    Are you a troll? Your post was very troll-like.
     
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  11. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    Original question sounds like the right time to ask "are you sure of that call?" and leave it be after that. If the opponent stands by the call, they know what you're thinking, maybe they'll make better calls in the future.

    Seems to me it could hurt your concentration to be mentally "lurking" for the right moment to make your (nicely-termed) restorative call. Instead of preparing for and executing your shot, isn't some of your mental focus going towards "hey, this one looks like it's gonna be in by just a few inches, is this the right time to get that call back?" Or do you just call the next shot they hit out, even if it lands in the middle of the court, and get it over with?
     
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  12. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    If you drive a ball down the line for a winner when your opponent is out of position in the opposite doubles alley whereas you are right on top of the line and looking down at it, yet your opponent calls the ball out and you must defer to his call out of some notion of courtesy or sporting etiquette--as it was on his side of the court on which the ball landed--then, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's very likely a duck; and if your opponent is patently disadvantaging you with repeatedly suspect calls, you should be on good moral footing for restoring the balance with a counteractive call or two of your own, in that, the next time you are sincerely unsure whether his shot touched the line or whether it landed out because it was so close and too close to tell decisively, you should just go ahead and give yourself the call. It's not active cheating, but reasonably reactive score correction.
     
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  13. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    No. That's not how morality works.

    No, it's active cheating.
     
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  14. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Is one point going to cost you the match? Nah. There were many other uncontested points that are doing that for you.

    So what's the justification to cheat when you feel cheated? Where do you draw the line? By acting in kind, aren't you validating their right to cheat in the first place?

    Playing mixed a lot, I would see my wife get angry when she felt we were hosed on a call early on...I kept telling her, let's go get this point and then it's a wash. Now she looks at me if we are on the receiving end of a bad call and says, next one's ours. Don't waste your time worrying about if and when you should take an opportunity to retaliate with cheating, spend your time on playing well. It'll even the match out a lot more often.
     
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  15. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    You disagreed with ONE call so you started cheating on purpose. You should play some sport other than tennis.
     
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  16. InsideOutBackhand

    InsideOutBackhand New User

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    Combating cheating with cheating doesn't seem like an effective way to deter cheating. I have never intentionally made a suspect call against an opponent. I simply make my displeasure with their bad calls known verbally, but politely.

    If they continue to cheat, and if I'm quite certain of it, I will simply knock their sunglasses or hat off with a serve/overhead, not so politely. Of course I will apologize and insist it was an accident (just like they insisted the ball was out). Then I'll do it again ... and again.:twisted:
     
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  17. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    Your original post talked about a single bad call on a serve. Now you are talking about "repeatedly suspect calls". Seems like you are going to rationalize your cheating no matter what anyone says. Whenever I play with a cheater like you, its the last time I play with that person.

     
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  18. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    "Restorative" call, "discretionary" call, "counteractive" call--I'd heard of a "makeup" call, but I'm learning some new terms here.

    Y'all got lots of words for a bad call, you in politics, maybe?
     
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  19. dudeman01

    dudeman01 New User

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    ^ No. Just way too many tricky teammates that have surprised me when I captained teams. Tricky opponents are part of the territory, but teammates that do that kind of stuff in matches can create bad blood between teams so I try to put a stop to it the best I can.
     
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  20. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    ^^^I don't mean to call you out, I was just struck by the creative linguistics of several posters. I admit, though, that at this point I'm confused as to whether or not you favor use of the "discretionary" call.
     
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  21. Sakkijarvi

    Sakkijarvi Semi-Pro

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    My wife comes to some of my tennis matches to spectate and says I play too may out calls as in.

    Since nothing in this sport is more exciting IMO than a long rally, and I believe Braden (if it was him) when he wrote the human eye is not able to be more accurate than a few inches ... I would rather keep playing and don't really see why anyone would want to get caught up in hook-counter-hook as a regular part of their tennis.
     
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  22. dudeman01

    dudeman01 New User

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    ^ No offense taken, and no I'm not in favor of such practice where you make "discretionary" calls to get things to work out in your favor. I've had people get really mad at me for my calls but I've never consciously hook people or premeditate to end a point that's close on the line. For whatever this is worth, I've never had a referee overturn my calls and I'm not offended when my opponents call for an official, but I've successfully challenged a whole bunch of line calls that have left my opponents huffing and puffing.
     
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  23. dudeman01

    dudeman01 New User

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    It's a way of demonstrating that you are aware of the situation and you won't get pushed around by bad calls. In the minds of many, this is a twisted logic that works out somehow.
     
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  24. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    I sort of had this happen last night. I was at the net, my partner was serving. They called a ball out that clearly hit the back of the line. I just politely asked: "Is that the mark right there?" They took a look and realized their mistake. Sometimes people just miss calls, and if you're nice, they will admit their mistake. Cheaters are a whole other animal. You have three options:

    1) "Don't have to cheat you to beat you."
    2) Confront them--possibly including making an immediate silly line call to point out the silliness of their line call.
    3) Pack up and leave and never play with them again.
     
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  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I'm not sure about league matches, but, if it's a tournament, you should ask for a linesman!
     
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  26. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    I had to refer to Wiki to refresh my memory and it's confirmed that morality apparently has two principle meanings, "descriptive," and "normative." Normative deals with what ought to be, regardless of what people think. The terms "should" and "ought" [to] are synonymous. One, thus, may be on good moral footing in another's eyes if the other believes that the one, under certain conditions, should be allowed to conduct himself in a particular manner. I did not mean for this thread to contain a lesson in basic grammar, but while we are on the topic, my previous comments were actually laid down in the subjunctive mood, obviously meant to be taken as hypothetical, not necessarily factual, scenarios. To circle back atop, and for the sake of reinforcement, here is another normative statement: A modicum of reading comprehension skill should be required of anyone wishing to criticize or sensibly challenge another's written viewpoint.
     
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  27. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    DeShaun, here it is in the simplest terms possible.

    Calling a ball out that was in is cheating. No if's and or but's. It does not matter if you think the other guy is cheating - hypothetical or not.
     
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  28. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Dang. A whole lotta book learnin' went into that post!! :)

    Here's an easier way to understand "morality:" If you have to keep your conduct a secret -- if you would be ashamed to show the video to your own mother -- it's probably wrong.

    For your next match, walk up to your opponent before the match and announce that if you think he has missed a call you will deliberately hook him on the next point. If that feels like a bad idea, maybe there's a reason?
     
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  29. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    It makes me sad that so many people responding to this would say that it's okay to retaliate for a bad call by making a bad call of their own. In other words, "cheat back".

    Nobody despises a bad line call more than me, but even if my opponents are legally blind, and the biggest cheaters on earth, I won't call a ball out if I think it's in, or even if I'm not 100% sure it's in or out.

    Playing with good sportsmanship is always rewarded in the long run. Never cheat.
     
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  30. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    But if you are unsure whether a ball landed in or whether out, because of how fast it was traveling and what not, so that it would have been impossible for the human eye to definitively rule out either possibility; and you have always subscribed to a notion of awarding your opponent the benefit of your doubt, always, then there may come a point in time, after so much apparent evidence has mounted of your opponent not doing the same for you, when it should be okay to award yourself the benefit of your doubt, as the fairest concept of applied randomness would suggest that fifty percent of those "too close to call" balls were in while the other fifty percent were out. The use of Hawkeye and its results affirm that some players will make the wrong call more often than others.
     
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  31. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    Here is the problem... A large majority (90%?) of people that make bad calls (which is all of us by the way) actually believe that they are making the right call. So when someone makes a call that they believe is correct, and you respond by calling an obviously "in" ball "out", they will believe that YOU are the one making bad line calls and cheating. Your point that you are "on to them" will be completely lost.
     
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  32. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    emphasis mine

    It's in/good.

    It doesn't matter how you attempt to justify any other response. I do think it OK to ask your opponent how they saw it (esp if you didn't because it was behind you, for example) but barring their admission of fault, that ball is good. It's just one point of the many...that make up a match.

    I don't quite buy that argument either. The "official" statistics might show that some players are more "correct" than others...but if you've watched even just a few pro matches, you realize they sometimes "throw away" a challenge (usually near the set's end).

    We all believe we've been hooked at some point or another...but just keep trying to tell yourself that you too...shall overcome.
     
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  33. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    Good point. Not subscribing to the "makeup call" myself I hadn't thought about it this way, but...good point.
     
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  34. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    I like what you said. :)
     
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  35. Kaz00

    Kaz00 Semi-Pro

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    Ugh I can't stand this especially in tournament play and high school. All I really do is just Borg through it and focus more on the game instead of a stupid call.

    Now if it gets the point where I know I am getting hooked on balls inside the line I'll politely ask them if they are sure. If I get a rude answer then it is on, drop shot then peg em at the net :D or call an official or coach. Most of the time though they say oops I am sorry and sometimes their conscious kicks in and will call some out balls good. I like option number 1 the most though.
     
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  36. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    This is the solution ... problem solved. Forget the moral issues just get your cards on the table as soon as possible.

    Seriously though ... I have decided in the last ten years I have been playing only 1 match was decided by a string of poor line calls. There have been other instances where I got so upset over poor line calls that I started playing poorly and that caused a poor result, but not the calls themselves.

    So I have decided that when I feel hooked I always respond with the phrase "good call". In my mind I am able to let it go and move on to the next point. When I have done this I never get to the point where I get so upset my play suffers. Also if the hooking was intentional perhaps my opponent will realize I will not blow up over these little tactics.
     
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  37. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Hooking seems possible only if you are certain that your opponent's shot landed in. If you know that it landed in, but you call it "out," you are hooking- this is cheating. I'm not talking about hooking an opponent whose shot clearly landed in. But knowingly lowering the threshold over your willingness, possibly resulting in fewer occasions for you to extend your opponent your generosity surrounding certain shots of his that quite arguably landed out, is an adjustment that can be made during the course of a match, and making it should not qualify one a hooker.

    After an unbroken stream of line calls that he has made that all favored him, and on this day you seem to have "just missed" every line, everywhere in his court, each and every time that he was the judge of your shot (statistically, highly improbable to miss every line by such a small distance), then it is not hooking in my book if, the next time you have reasonably held doubt as to whether his shot, on your side of the court, landed in or not--because you did not see even one strand of yellow felt overlapping by even one millimeter any part of the white--yet you want badly, out of your deeply instilled sense of sportsmanship, to give him the benefit of your (justified) doubt, even while 99.99% of the ball's mass clearly appeared not to have touched any part of the line, so that, you cannot plausibly deny that the ball landed in without also deceiving yourself into believing that an outcome, objectively the less likely of two possible to have occurred, HAS occurred ("and, thus, the point is yours" you would say), then (except, when you decide no longer to grant him the, pretty-much-entirely-unseen-felt-of-the-ball, and start telling yourself, 'Yeah, I think I'm going to start asserting, as having happened, any scenarios which my eyes actually see 99.99 percent of, instead of those that I see only 00.01 of,' it's okay in my book not to award him the point.

    Not to start a poor calls tit-for-tat party. That may be, however a secondary, unintended consequence of comfortably stepping forward in a spirit of friendly rivalry, and announcing, "Your last shot was out. And not only that, it was out by less than a few eights of an inch," and then, preparing for capricious retaliation from your opponent which could turn the match ugly. This sometimes may sadly be a part of competition, but that is not hooking. That is being on good grounds to send a message: "Probability supports the view that I could not possibly have hit so many (extremely tight) shots and done so unrelentingly as you have been asserting. Not even the pros can 'paint lines' (i.e. an archer's arrow pierce say, ten times consecutively, a three inch-wide-ring of airspace, circumscribing a round target's outermost concentric, physical limits, without one of the ten arrows touching the target in between, but all ten whistling by, within three inches of--no further away from--the target's outer edge) that consistently."

    I believe myself capable of sensing, during a match, when it may be time for me to lower the threshold to my generosity, to reflect before automatically assigning my opponent the point after his shot was, at best, "possibly in" (by a microscopic margin, if that), though, "pretty much out." To say this with no sense of it being false seems different than hooking.

    Jefferson's view that it was better to let a hundred guilty men go free than to deprive one innocent man of his freedom usually guides my call, when I'm pronouncing on my opponent's shot that has just landed ambiguously close to being 101% outside of the line. Yes, I am inclined by nature to always and forever give my opponent the benefit. My point however is that, a time may arise when an exception should be made and reflection taken, or else, I should be clinging to some vaguely altruistic ideal that is obviously not helping me against an opponent who does not appear to share my values. Besides, I have eyes of my own. Against certain playing partners, I tend to call nearly as many of my own shots out as they call, and it's not uncommon for an opponent to (in my opinion) miss a call (that should have gone against me) and for me to urge him to accept the point as my shot, from where I was standing, looked to have been out.

    The game is simply more enjoyable for me when I can use it to build relationships of good will. Those who play me regularly all would agree that I am an upright sportsman. But I am an adaptive competitor, too. If you give me good reasons for suspecting you of liberally abusing your prerogative, as deciding linesman on your side of the court, I will feel no compunction over sprinkling you with some of your own pixie dust. But this has happened to me only twice over the past six months; yet it HAS happened. Both times, I thought much less of my opponent for resorting to those tactics, but I felt an obligation to myself to send him a message by discontinuing my charity.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
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  38. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I was playing a guy that had worked on his strokes for about a year but was just getting started actually playing. There were about 5 serves that were clean aces, they caught the INSIDE of the line and he called all of them out. There were several other ground strokes of mine that he called out too.

    He was trying to cheat I don't think. He just either had really crappy line calling abilities or didn't know that the lines were good (seriously).

    Anyway, there were also several shots of mine that were well out that he didn't call. He didn't call them out right away so I just kind of rushed to the next point and didn't give him much opportunity to call it. I figured that made up for his bad fault calls.
     
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  39. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Playing before, it seems you have remained silent when convinced an opponent had, to his detriment, missed a call. Careful you are not scolded for being bankrupt ethically, there's a couple of finger-wagging ideologues running loose here.
     
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  40. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    When you have to use a run-on sentence of this length to justify cheating, you know you're in the wrong!
     
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  41. TenniseaWilliams

    TenniseaWilliams Professional

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    If you are convinced that "benefit of the doubt" is only being used on your side of the net, you are probably right. You should use it on the whole court. A lot of people who give generous calls strangely seem to automatically assume the worst from their opponent.

    A tougher question is the contra-positive:
    Your doubles partner (in better position) makes a questionable call on the baseline; you ask them if they are sure, and they are. Do you:
    1. Take the point
    2. Take the point, but "increase" your benefit of the doubt zone for a possible makeup call
    3. Play a let
    4. Overrule, award point to opponents

    How much does your response change for social vs league matches, or mixed?
     
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  42. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    A non-substantive reply. You may not particularly like the make and model of car someone was driving with whom you, suppose, got into a motor vehicle accident that involved your car and his. But your dislike of his vehicle does not prove that he caused the accident. If you cannot refute the substance of someone's viewpoint, why even bother with attacking it on grounds of its style being deficient?

    People who fall back on using such forms of rebuttal typically will do poorly against even highly disorganized opponents if the opponent is determined. Most everyone can see through someone whose reply to a message goes thus: "I would like to shift everyone's attention to the messenger who delivered this message and in particular, to the manner (and vehicle) in which he delivered it" [rather than addressing the message substantively]
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
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  43. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    In your scenario I would subtly show our opponents with my body language and slightly changed facial expression that I, perhaps, might have called it the other way around, but I certainly would not say a single word to my partner or go anywhere overboard with my non-verbal shows of pity towards our opponents, because this could engender disharmony on my own team, and besides, one questionable point alone shouldn't make or break our opponents' chances.
     
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  44. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    If I were the chair umpire then I would. But you raise an interesting question. Maybe my generosity threshold was originally set too high, and not until the stimuli of having played twenty or thirty matches (I only picked up tennis this past March) prompted me, did I begin to see more widely-accepted ideas on calling the lines. I had always figured that unless the ball landed out by a good two inches then just go ahead and give the point to your opponent. But the more matches I play, the more I see that opponents have standards of their own. Some (only one or two of my regular playing partners, actually) seem more demanding than me when their opponent's shot lands very near a line, as though their default response in such cases as when they seem to be in doubt regarding a tight line call, is to say, "out" and award themselves the point. Interestingly though, as some other posters have said already, the two playing partners of mine who have done this borderline questionable hooking-type behavior both have not beaten me in a long long time and I am just a better tennis player than both of them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
    #44
  45. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, there was plenty of substance in my reply. You just missed it.

    The substance is this: Honesty is simple. Just give the benefit of the doubt on line calls.

    What you advocate (cheating) takes a lot of hot air to defend. And in the end, *everyone* reading your tortured posts knows you are just trying to justifying cheating.
     
    #45
  46. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    If passerbys see you cheating they WON'T think, "Oh, I bet he's only making restorative calls." They'll think, "That guy cheats."

    So what can you do about the point that you believe an opponent cheated you out of? Just do nothing, be bigger than that. It probably won't cost you the match, anyway. What if it does? Oh well, then it does. So what? Deal with it.
     
    #46
  47. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Though we cannot always, sometimes we try to shape the future. Some humanity will scheme to have past-results govern their tomorrow. These people are sometimes time thieves who need to have their pockets picked and taught a lesson. Some of us want nothing to do with playing instructor. I am not one of them. I feel no compunction over returning an unwelcome gesture, no sense of obligation to turning the other cheek. It's just a game. If you're going to cheat me, I'll cheat you. In the meantime, I'll keep on playing my tennis over here, and you'll keep on scheming to compensate for yours.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
    #47
  48. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    If you give somebody many questionable line calls and you become fuzzy all over with warm pride, for having shown so much devotion to charity, and your opponent is obviously cheating you, you can afford to screw him once, and this will not injure or dilute the purity of your karma too greatly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
    #48
  49. banter

    banter Semi-Pro

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    In regards to talking to your partner... Whether or not one would bring up a questionable call up with his or her partner is dependent on the relationship of the partners. I think that if one is playing doubles, there should already be a chemistry between the two partners. Of course, there can be times where there is none, such as if it were their first match. Even then, communication in doubles play a significant factor in the game play so it should be open and not censored.
     
    #49
  50. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Censorship has its limits, and whether it is appropriate depends on the relationship between parties. You and I are in agreement on this. There simply are times when it would be appropriate to censor one's remarks. Not every moment after some questionable call shared between two doubles partners is immune to ever being counted among all of the moments in which censorship would be appropriate.
     
    #50

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