Get off the courts!

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by TTMR, Feb 17, 2013.

?

Did I deal with this so-called 'coach' properly?

  1. Yes. Adult matches take priority over lessons on public courts.

    20 vote(s)
    18.5%
  2. Yes, but you should have gone further and called the police on him.

    11 vote(s)
    10.2%
  3. No, he had the courts: You should have waited until 11, found other courts or gone home.

    64 vote(s)
    59.3%
  4. No, he should have called the police on you. He had the courts and you forced him off.

    13 vote(s)
    12.0%
  1. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    So the other day my bud and I decided to play tennis after a relatively long layoff. As you probably do not know, 95% of the public courts in my city are unplayable; they usually have fixed "nets" made of wire mesh, fading boundary lines, potholes galore (much like the roads) and holes and openings in the back and side fences. Clubs are obscenely priced and their courts always in use. This forces what few tennis players there are onto a few centrally located decently maintained public courts.

    As we approach we see this oaf teaching about nine or ten kids. There are four courts at this location and it looked like he was only using two at the time doing some silly drills. We get our equipment and head onto the furthest court out and this 300 lb instructor yells out, "Hey buddy, we got these reserved". Quite an odd statement. I did not know you could "reserve" public courts.

    "Until when?" I asked.

    "'Till 11," he replied. It was 9:30 at the time.

    "Well, you're not even using these two over here," I answered.

    "Doesn't matter, we will be. We got them reserved."

    "These are public courts, how can they be 'reserved'?"

    "We're here every week at this time."

    "But that doesn't mean they're 'reserved' for you."

    "If I give'em up for you then I have to give'em up for everyone."

    My playing partner interjected, "Why don't we go play squash instead?"

    "No. We're here to play tennis. This guy doesn't own the courts. We're taxpayers. We're playing."

    "No, you're not. I've just finished my drill. My kids are starting their practice sets now. Ethan, Jessica, you two come over and play on this court," pointing to the one we were standing on. The kids quickly come and start a rally. It was clear the coach was now in aggressive mode, assuming we would yield once the kids began playing. As a side note, we saw their "coach" lived up to the stereotype; the kids were hitting with closed stances, eastern forehands with no topspin and finishing above the shoulder. The balls were your typical dead ones from Wal-Mart. No doubt their parents were being suckered and scammed hard.

    I smiled sardonically and shook my head. "I'm sorry, 'coach' (I emphasized the scare quotes visually this time), we're taking the court. If you want to teach, you book a court with a club."

    My friend and I pulled out our racquets and balls and began hitting right then and there, with the kids hitting at the same time. Once they lost control of a ball and had to go chase it, we were in control of the court and they didn't try to reclaim it.

    The coach stared me down and yelled, "I'm gonna report you!"

    "Yeah, you do that," I responded contemptuously without looking back at him.

    We finished our match with the irritating disruption of kids running onto our courts to retrieve their errant balls, but we made our stand. Who did this jerk think he was trying to make money off of public courts? If you want to coach, you reserve a court with your club. I don't care if you have to raise prices or won't make enough money. A match between two or four adult players takes precedence over some plump clown hitting around with kiddies for money. I hope this fatso goes bankrupt.

    How do you think I handled the situation? Did I do the right thing?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
    #1
  2. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Here in NYC city certified instructors and high schools can in fact can reserve public courts, but never take all the courts In a single location
     
    #2
  3. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    Regardless of what is right/wrong in regards to the courts, I think you were pretty much a jerk given the situation. Nice job and good show for the kids. How do you know he wasn't teaching for free for a youth group? Just saying. You really gave these kids a great view of what to expect from "adult" (emphasizing the visual scare quotes) players. Not saying their coach was right either, but come on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
    #3
  4. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I did NOT vote because you didn't offer the option in your poll that I would have selected.

    I would have voted for:

    You had a right to use the court because they are public courts AND were not being used at the time.

    I do NOT think that adult matches take precedence over lessons on public courts, however.

    In spite of your childish and obvious disdain for the coach in question (calling him an oaf, mentioning his weight, etc.), I still think you did the right thing to insist on playing on a public court that wasn't actually being used at the time.

     
    #4
  5. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    Seems pretty clear to me. If there is no reservation system for these particular courts, then you can't kick him off a court he's currently using, but he also can not bar you from playing on courts that are not currently in use.
     
    #5
  6. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Yes, public courts are often reserved for lessons, drills, etc. There should be a sign posted on what time and for what purpose the courts are reserved. Sometimes, though, the parks department is too unorganized to actually post the appropriate sign. The guy may very well have been teaching a parks department class for which he got paid little, if anything, because he wants to help kids learn tennis. Maybe he is just doing this on his own for free to help the neighborhood kids.

    Of course you are far too important to take the needs of some lowly ragamuffins into account.
     
    #6
  7. TTMR

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    Well nothing was stopping this 'coach' from informing me he was running a class sponsored by the parks department. He didn't, however. He simply wanted me to back down in a brazen assertion of his equally rotund ego.

    Either way, given what he was teaching, he was doing possibly irreparable damage to these kids and their tennis potential. These kids would have learned far more about tennis by watching me and my partner play than by listening to their archaic coach.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
    #7
  8. North

    North Professional

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    I think you should have gotten his info (name, if he is teaching for the town or county) or a description if he wouldn't tell you his name, and found out if he genuinely had the courts reserved because some municipalities let tennis programs reserve courts.

    You might have had to give up playing there that day if you could not find out right away. But if he really had the courts reserved, you at least have behaved decently. If he did not, you would prevent his ongoing abuse of the public courts & whoever owns the courts would back you up - or at least confirm your telling him he cannot monopolize all the courts the way he did.
     
    #8
  9. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Oh. Certainly your wonderfulness would have reached into every fiber of the children's being and little Ethan and Jessica would have been much better off than if they actually got to play tennis.

    I know, you just did it for the children.
     
    #9
  10. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I think you did the right thing. One guy can't come and take over all of the public courts because he wants to run a class, get paid, and not have to pay for court time. The one thing I would have asked him is if he had something from the city/county/park (whoever actually owned the court) saying that the court had been reserved. Many of the public courts I've played on have a sign that expressly forbids lessons.

    The fact that you were adults is irrelevant I think. It could have been a couple of ten year olds.

    I ran into this a long time ago at a public court. There were two courts. One was used by two older teens, and my dad, my brother, and I took the free court. This college tennis player (who will be referred to as Dude) and a young, attractive woman show up about ten minutes later. Dude kind of generally announces that he has a lesson and the courts are reserved, though he clearly only needs one. Now there's a sign on the court that clearly prohibits private lessons, and this clearly wasn't a park and rec group lesson. The three of us know this. We kind of all look at each other and and there's a silent pact that there was only one way Dude was getting our court, and while Dude was a big, strong guy he wasn't big enough to deal with 3 grown men. Dude apparently realizes this too because pretty quickly he goes after the two teenagers. He had the bravado going and basically intimidated them off the court. We all thought about stepping in, and I think we said something about private lessons, but teens wanted no part of this and left.

    Public courts are public. We all pay taxes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
    #10
  11. Player#1

    Player#1 Rookie

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    If I were in the position of that coach, I would have made you leave the court limping with your tail between your legs!
     
    #11
  12. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    This is why I don't live in the North East/ NYC. :)
     
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  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I can't take sides here. OP and coach don't know how to treat others with decency and respect. OP and the coach deserve each other.

    Yuck.
     
    #13
  14. Alex78

    Alex78 Semi-Pro

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    Completely regardless of having the right to use the court, you didn't to the right thing in my opinion - trying to make a point and quarelling with another adult in front of the kids. Doesn't seem like class to me.
    But anyway you look at it, the kids definitely learned something here, just like SteveB wrote. And by that I don't mean they learned from watching you playing tennis.
     
    #14
  15. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    Tennis courts are a scarce commodity. I don't live in a city with a nice, usable tennis court in every neighbourhood. There have to be measures taken to ensure the greatest benefit for the greatest number of players. One guy hoarding the courts so he can teach children methods that will handicap their tennis for life--for money, I might add--is a misallocation of a scarce public resource.

    Maybe I should have simply relented for the sake of the children, but then this guy would have persisted. I stood up against this abusive practice, and I'd do it again. I probably did him a favour. Other people might not have been as charitable about seizing the court as I was.
     
    #15
  16. Tammo

    Tammo Banned

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    Play him in a match. Or start to serve and smash a kid in the guts.
     
    #16
  17. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, let's get over ourselves, shall we?

    Some guy was letting a bunch of kids run around and swing at tennis balls. The kids got some fresh air and exercise, and their parents got them off the couch. Just because it's not the Bolliteri academy doesn't make it worthless, especially since you don't know what the parents were paying.

    If you're just a rec player, then let's remember that you're just a rec player. And if you're a rec player, by definition you stink at tennis.
     
    #17
  18. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    If I was a parent of one of these kids, I would like to watch a few minutes of practice to see if the coach is worth my money or not.
    Personally, I would coach my kid myself; especially at a young age. I believe I had the capabilities of developing a player just as good as a 'pro' coaching another kid.

    Okay, about the 'rec player' comment, that statement is open for perception.
    If I and a partner played you in a mixed doubles match, depending on how you and your partner play, I can have a judgement whether your decent or not. I see that your a 'master' at moonballs? Well, I can easily expose that by hitting at corners and/or lobbing your partner for you to return a weak shot and then hit a passing shot at you. :)

    Bottom line: There's people who have "NTRP" levels and still suck mate. 8)
     
    #18
  19. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    If parents want their kids running around swinging haphazardly at tennis balls, they can use one of the pothole-laden courts I mentioned in the original post. It won't affect their game, since their goal is mere exercise and fresh air, rather than tennis per se. Decent public courts are a rarity here. If people genuinely trying to play the game are unable to use them, or cannot afford the outrageous club fees (and good luck getting a court at a club if you have a M-F, 9-5ish job), then they have no choice but to give up on the game. Sometimes, decisions have to be made for the good of the tennis-playing community at large. I'm just one person, but I made a difference that day.

    So anyone who doesn't belong to a club sucks at tennis? It's good to see that elitist snobbery the public associates tennis and tennis clubs with is alive and well.
     
    #19
  20. mizzoutiger2013

    mizzoutiger2013 New User

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    +1. Well Said.
     
    #20
  21. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    You were 100% right. There have been instances where "reserving" public courts is alright. I think reserving a few courts within a complex for league matches is fine, as long as there are still courts available for others to use. "Reserving" all of the courts? You can't do that. People will let you fly by because they're courteous and decent, but don't push it by taking ALL the courts.

    Now, did you handle the situation with class? No. Neither did the "coach".
     
    #21
  22. tenniscasey

    tenniscasey Semi-Pro

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    You bullied children who had no say in what was going on. Congratulations on possibly being "right."
     
    #22
  23. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    "Rec player" means "recreational player." Meaning someone who is not a pro. Meaning most of us here.

    Rec players can be found inside and outside of clubs. I do not belong to a club.

    I find your attitude that anyone who is less of a rec player than you are shouldn't have any right to use the court. That is obnoxious, frankly.

    The courts are (apparently) first come, first served. The possession of Mad Tennis Skillz is not required.

    Now, you may have a beef with whether you got to that particular court first, whether your area allows coaching on public courts, etc. You do yourself no favors by fouling your post with remarks about how bad the coach or the kids were. 'Cause that makes no difference and just makes you look bad.

    IMHO.
     
    #23
  24. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    What exactly would either of you do? It can be difficult as one out of shape (from the description) adult to force two other adults to do what you want them to do.
     
    #24
  25. beernutz

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    Where is the poll option to punch the OP in the neck? Add that one and I'll vote.
     
    #25
  26. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Club players suck too. So many are delusional about their actual abilities. Many are also really nice and kind folks, good people in general. But they still suck at tennis. But so what? For most it's just a game for fun. No big deal in the big scheme of things. I suck at tennis. I still enjoy my dinner.
     
    #26
  27. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    I don't believe anything this guy is saying, this is a TROLL post. Public courts are used by pros to give lessons everywhere I've ever lived or traveled. If this scenario ever happened, which I seriously doubt, why should the coach short change his pupils to have to pull out his contract with the city to show you? You would have argued with him anyway.

    If 98% percent of courts in your town are run down, call the rec dept. and demand they repair them. It sounds like you know how to push your weight around especially with children. Get a petition together to fix them, attend rec dept. meetings and complain, complain at city council meetings or run for office yourself.

    As far as clubs being expensive, that's relative. Some are exclusive and charge a lot but some are affordable to middle class working people. If you can't afford one, work harder or smarter like others do and join a club.

    What tells me this is a TROLL post is that the coach was teaching excellent fundamental tennis techniques: closed stance, Eastern grips, high follow through--sounds like Fed and Pete--what's wrong with that? You may be wise to take some lessons from him.
     
    #27
  28. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    Look through some of his other posts, they are all troll posts. I don't know why everyone gets so worked up about his threads. :)

    Humor him so that his time isn't wasted, but everyone should relax.
     
    #28
  29. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Well well well... Look who showed up!

    [​IMG]

    I didn't know that he's infamous for trolling. Maybe he's telling the truth. But I don't know considering his spotty post history.

    Thanks again DramaQueen! :)
     
    #29
  30. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    Not really. I'd argue it was the coach/whale who was bullying the children, basically using them as human shields. He thought I'd never remove a child from the court (even though he put them on what would have been our court, which he previously was not using but supposedly had 'reserved'). We didn't touch the children, we just started rallying gently back and forth while the children were doing the same thing simultaneously.

    It was the coach who put them in that position. What else could I have done? If I hadn't intervened he would have never even considered someone might object to his exploiting the public court system.

    Thank you. It's not the first time this has happened to me. Another time in a different town, I was playing with someone else, and a group of high schoolers and their teacher came on and claimed they had reserved all three courts and we had to vacate. We did without incident and I always regretted that I never said anything or demanded proof.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
    #30
  31. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    You know else tells me this is a troll post? He's talking about playing outdoors in February in Winnepeg and there are people who let their kids play tennis outside in February, too.

    http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/camb0244
     
    #31
  32. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    Yep, you always need to demand proof of reservation. At the county park I play at a few leagues and the high school team have the courts reserved at some times, but their is a laminated calendar zip tied to the fence that indicates all the reservations that month. If it isn't on the list I am not moving.

    Obviously if this guy had actually reserved the courts he would have something to show you or would have called someone that did.
     
    #32
  33. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    So you only listen to what you want to hear? What about the other half of my post?
     
    #33
  34. vandre

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    TTMR is for the children! just like the wu-tang clan!

    [​IMG]
     
    #34
  35. pkshooter

    pkshooter Semi-Pro

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    You were very very wrong, and he can reserve courts. The coach was even more wrong than you though. You should have played racket ball.
     
    #35
  36. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    In many cities, including the towns surrounding Boston, public courts are often run by the parks and rec department. If so, then yes, courts are available to reserve. Since he did not actually reserve anything, the point doesn't apply to YOU, but taxpayer or not, I would not do that again.
     
    #36
  37. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    I'll bite. What would have been the 'classy' alternative?
     
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  38. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I just don't get this. Why does some guy running a little rogue tennis camp have the right to take all the public courts, especially during a prime time, without some kind of permission from the authority who owns the courts? It's great that the kids are getting some fresh air and learning tennis, but we all gotta share.

    Practically, if we're just going to do law of jungle, there's no way one guy is going to chase off two guys if those two guys are set on staying.
     
    #38
  39. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Sounded like the kids were just using half of the court, since you just seemingly invited yourself onto the other half of the court. Waited for the kids to lose control and retrieve their balls, then "claim" the court to yourself.

    1) Kindly ask the kids and the coach if you guys can use half of the court to rally and warm-up until they're done, EVEN if you had to wait until 11.

    2) I wouldn't mock the coach.

    3) If the coach is really being a jerk about it, be the bigger man and walk away.

    4) There are kids there, be a positive example. Don't inspired them to be booting people off the court.

    5) If I had a friend with me, I wouldn't embarrass him along with myself.

    Just to name a few.
     
    #39
  40. tenniscasey

    tenniscasey Semi-Pro

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    You could have walked away and called the city about the problem. You know, handled it like a grown-up.

    In this story, you just come off as a middle-aged loser. If you're just trolling, it's a weird story to use as bait.
     
    #40
  41. pkshooter

    pkshooter Semi-Pro

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    Walk away and call the city.
     
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  42. Mauvaise

    Mauvaise Rookie

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    I know in Phoenix, pros are not allowed to use public courts to teach lessons. I don't know if there are signs posted to that effect.

    I believe there are a couple locations where the park has hired a pro to teach clinics (free), but at those locations, the signs are posted 24/7 with the times and court numbers.


    I voted the first option, but that's not exactly how I feel. My option wasn't there.

    I firmly believe in first come/first served for public courts. With the caveat that the Park Rules are followed. If there are time limits, no teaching pros allowed, etc.

    Given that I probably wouldn't have forced my way on the court, but I would follow up with the Parks department to find out if this pro is breaking the rules and reported him.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
    #42
  43. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Again, the way I see it, public tennis courts are "first come, first served", regardless of whether they have a maximum time limit or not, so long as you are actually USING the courts (you can't claim "phantom reservations" unless it's expressly allowed).

    When the OP arrived, the court in question was NOT being used, despite what the tennis coach claimed. So the OP had every right to use that court.

    In fact, I think the tennis coach only irresponsibly escalated the confrontational situation by sending CHILDREN onto the court while the OP was using it. The tennis coach was wrong on 2 counts: first, to escalate the situation; second, to use children to escalate the situation.

    This is why I think the OP did the right thing to not back down by surrendering use of the tennis court.

    If it were my children at the tennis clinic, I would have been mad at the tennis coach for recklessly involving children in a needless escalation of "hostilities" and would have reported the tennis coach to authorities and his manager (if any).
     
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  44. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    We have limited courts in our area. There is only one club that you can be a member of if you don't live in the neighborhood that has courts. Mostly people play the public courts. Because we have so few courts, you can pay and reserve courts. So, I reserve courts for leagues some times and a tennis pro teaches out of one set of courts and reserves courts. In the circumstances you state, he would send you down a 1/2 a mile to two other courts to see if you could play there; or he would let you play until he was ready for match play for his kids and then he would kick you off.

    We all work together.
     
    #44
  45. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    As with most situations like this, I find it hard to pass judgement either way without actually being there to see exactly what happened. My gut feeling would be unless he had a large number of kids, why does he need all 4 courts in the first place?
     
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  46. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    You have a good point. It think it was pretty easy to pass judgment on the OP just because of they way he presented the situation here and clearly defined himself as someone who welcomes classless confrontation. At least it didn't escalate to violence but I have a feeling it could have given the coach and OP's need to one up each other with the sophomoric behavior. That would have been a great message to the kids above and beyond what they already learned up to that point. I wish there would have been a real adult there who could have mediated and shown these kids the proper way to handle the situation. Not saying it could have been me, but obviously sharper people were needed. I have a hard time getting past the poor execution on both sides when there are children involved ... no matter what. The issue of who had rights to the court is VERY secondary at this point.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
    #46
  47. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    I've been reading a lot of criticisms like this, that I should have behaved in a more respectful manner in the presence of the children.

    I am not a believer in this hyper-protectionist mentality we as a society seem to have regarding children, that they must be shielded from any and all hint of conflict and danger. We don't live in a fantasy world, and children shouldn't be led to believe that we do. Being thrown out into the world at 18 completely unprepared for the depressing reality of life is detrimental; significantly more detrimental than the supposed threat of jungle gyms and TV/video game violence.

    Pray tell, what would have been the message to the kids, had I just conceded and left after the coach made his case? The message would have been that, to get what you want, all you have to do is throw your weight around (literally and figuratively, in this coach's case) and people will give in. That is not a lesson that is wise or moral to disseminate to our youth.

    If anything, they were better off witnessing someone willing to stand up for what is right, rather than backing down in the face of adversity.
     
    #47
  48. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    9,087
    If that's how you think then don't defend your kids when they're bullied at school. Don't sort it out with the parents. If your kids come crying to you, don't pay them any attention.

    Actually, don't have kids period. They'll turn up to be like your classless self and fight fire with fire to make matters worse.
     
    #48
  49. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    2,707
    TTMR, call the city rec dept and find out what their agreement is with this instructor. Did you see a sign posted with his hours--did you look for one? If there is none, that would be easy enough to rectify. In this day and age, if there was a sign posted, it may have been vandalized and ripped off. In that case the instructor should show you his agreement or explain it to you.

    Folks, you do realize we are only getting one side of the story here don't you?

    It would be helpful if the OP would do his homework in this regard before bringing it here--but it's a good warm-up for my keyboarding.
     
    #49
  50. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,110
    Unfortunately, whales...um, I mean rotund coaches, can't type. We gotta take OP's word. LOL
     
    #50

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