Looks like USTA is finding new ways to mess up in VA

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by JRstriker12, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Anyone know what's going on here? Reducing the voice of a strong district within the section and possibly moving administration of USTA activities in Virginia to another district or section, possibly outside VA doesn't sound like a winning idea to me.

    Maybe I'm wrong...

    Could also have impact nationally as one item would limit the voting percentage of all districts nationally.

    http://www.virginiatennis.com/news/1-latest-news/205-virginia-needs-your-voice.html

    The three specific issues that are of concern are:

    1) A potential Call Item to National USTA to divide Districts in order to reduce voting strength;

    2) A potential Call Item to National USTA that would limit Districts, including Virginia, to a maximum of 35% voting strength at the Section level. (Currently, Virginia represents 57% of the membership in Mid Atlantic.)

    3) Potential bylaw changes at the Mid-Atlantic Section that would take away Virginia’s autonomy to administer its leagues, programs, etc. while at the same time diminishing financial transparency and volunteer oversight.
     
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  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Pardon?

    Any idea what the politics are behind these changes?

    I guess I could understand the need to "protect" and therefore grow smaller areas. My leagues are in MD, but I have never felt any friction with Virginia.

    I know there is a lot of friction between DC and MD (perhaps not on the administration level but on the player level). Certain MD players have a habit of fielding all-star teams in DC to earn an easy trip to sectionals without the bother of going through MD Districts.

    I can't say I blame them, but I understand that the DC 4.0 ladies senior league was won by an all-star team from MD, which went to sectionals but defaulted two courts to finish last at sectionals (IIRC). The feeling in some quarters in DC was irritation that the DC-based players lost the chance to go to sectionals to a MD team that didn't take sectionals seriously.
     
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  3. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Yeah its a mistery to me too, unless it's some local USTA politics / power play. IMHO VA and MD tend to have a lot of players and thus tend to be more competitive. If DC wanted to protect their leagues, couldn't they limit the number of VA or MD players on each team or something along those lines?

    But going back to this announcement, I wonder if it really about money. By splitting up and managing VA under other districts, they would be able to tap a rich vein of players and their fees.
     
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  4. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't know if leagues are (or should be) able to prevent players from joining teams on the basis of residency. Interesting idea, though.
     
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  5. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Why not? There are all sort of rules about who can play on which team based on if your team went to sectionals/nationals or how many players can play together on multiple teams.

    They could just require that say 75% or more than 55% of the players on any team live in DC. Either that of field an all-star DC team to take out the all-star MD team...
     
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  6. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    DC leagues and players are doing just fine. The DC team at sectionals at 3.5 had a very even mix. You just aren't going to have a team made up of just DC residents in this area...the districts are just too close together. I think the influx of VA and MD players makes DC league more competitive.

    I know, too, for me, it is actually closer to play DC than MD or VA, and I LIVE in VA.

    I know the captains of which you speak, of course. They are beatable, but most don't even try.
     
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  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    The DC team I played on (or I should say didn't play on) a few years back was a MD all-star team.

    The DC senior 4.0 women team this year was a MD all-star team.

    I believe there have been some NOVA all-star teams as well that played as a DC team.

    That said, I will defer to your recollection, Topaz. I only pay attention to DC when there's some drama, so my perspective is probably skewed.

    Anyway, I've committed to a DC 4.0 team. It's a team my regular partner plays on, so I'm sticking with her. This team has been reasonably high in the standings in the past and hopes to make a real run this year.

    And I am courting a 4.0 senior guy, hoping to entice him to be my senior 8.0 mixed partner this summer. If he says yes, we will kill our opponents. How this guy has a 4.0 computer rating is beyond me.
     
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  8. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Finally had some time to sit and read the "message" from our District President.

    I'll start out by saying I think his message falls somewhat flat because some important details are left out. Name names, Wayne. Who is this “Mid-Atlantic Delegate to USTA” that, without Board approval, proposed these call items and how and why were they allowed to do so (which National rules did they slide it in on)? Call them out in public, revoke their status as Delegate and maybe even their USTA membership.

    Give dates. When was this "Semiannual Meeting" in New York? When is the next national meeting...for our “comments” to be in by? If you want to be all about "transparency and honesty" then give us all the facts.

    And while you're at it, take a good long look in your own mirror. Last year, USTA/VA alone sucked $18 from each and every player for each and every league they played in. Was that information on the USTA/VA website? No, not that I could find (our local area broke down the almost $40 each signup costs). That same website does little to explain why the fee is so high except to say that it funds a long laundry list of things we rarely hear about. (link: http://www.virginiatennis.com/leagues/faqs.html) Is the District’s budget posted anywhere on-line?

    About the specific proposals, it's hard to judge them without all the data.

    Are the “potential” call items #1 and #2 a package deal? Exactly which Districts are to be divided? It would seem like the proposal must have some specifics.

    At least in Item #2, we are given the breakdown that USTA/VA comprises “57% of the membership.” Do we assume that’s individual, unique members...or does it represent the aggregate number of players and their opportunities? Take someone like CindySphinx or Topaz. Live in one District, play in another. Are they members of both? If not, why not? If they’re paying “league” fees that go to that District, shouldn’t they have a say in how that District is governed?

    (OK, maybe DC is a bad, bad, bad area to have this discussion of “paying” without being represented.)

    And how is/was Item #3 even an issue at a National USTA meeting? It’s supposedly a proposed change to the Mid-Atlantic Section by-laws. Wouldn’t that have to be taken up by USTA/MAS (and then, perhaps, sent to National for final approval)?


    Taking a step-back, I’ll have to admit I think the VA District is perhaps either too large, especially in relation to the other districts within our Section...or...the overall section is misconfigured. I'm not in the Washington area (DC proper, NOVA or MD) so you may think me crazy....but I think that players being allowed to play in two (or even three) different districts during the same “season” is crazy. If DC doesn't have enough (tennis) population to adequately field teams at many levels...well, then fix it. Maybe it's time to recognize that our "boundaries" really don't fall along "state" lines anymore. Other sections have bitten the bullet: one that comes to mind is the Missouri Valley-Heart of America District (with an area around Kansas City).

    Would dividing up and diluting USTA/VA penalize the District for doing its job of "growing the game"? Eh, maybe. But if they want to maintain the current "structure" of one district/one vote (if that’s even it at all)...that's just not going to work long-term for everyone. Our own national congress (as messed up as those jokers are sometimes) is probably structured properly if we're going to stay mired in State boundaries. One voting group based on geography, the other on “population.” Perhaps that would be a better middle-ground to seek.

    Bottom line, though for me, USTA cannot have it both ways: pushing to have increased “participation” but then limiting the voting power of those increased (or larger) areas.

    Thanks, JRS for posting this issue. I never would have otherwise seen it. If I can get more details (from USTA/VA), I’ll gladly push them out to the other captains in the Richmond area I know (and there’s quite a few of them).
     
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  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    The tennis situation in DC seems quite fragile.

    I know a 4.0 senior guy I would love to have as my mixed partner. He doesn't want to play MOCO because of the travel time and night matches. I was going to suggest we play DC senior 8.0 mixed this summer but DC did not even have an 8.0 league last year. They had 7.0 senior mixed (four teams), and that was it.

    I haven't read the proposal, but I would support almost anything that supports tennis in DC. It may well go extinct without a little help.

    AngleQueen, I believe our fees for each league in MD are about $23. $40 is lame.

    On the question of players being able to be on multiple teams, I would hate to see that change. I am currently on four teams, yet I only play 1-2 times per week. This spring, I plan to play two for the Adult season: MOCO and DC. If I were limited to one team, I would only get four matches in 12 weeks.
     
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  10. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the input AQ. Interesting thoughts.

    Yeah, the announcement seemed to be missing details and it's all really strange.

    I'm assuming that when they say VA is 57%, they mean people who are registered/live in VA are 57%. IIRC, I don't have to have have a USTA membership in DC to play DC.

    I'm also assuming that since they want to limit the vote of any single district, maybe the vote is proportional to membership - thus VA gets more say because they have a larger membership pool.

    As for playing in other districts, I'm all for giving players more opportunities to play as long as they pay. (FYI - I played and won a 3.5 singles tourney in DC. It was fun.) I would also think that paying the league fees in that district even if you come from another state would help the district you play in.

    What I wouldn't want to see is where out of state teams dominate or take over a local league.

    Honestly I guess this is all inside politics that wont impact most players, but I wouldn't want to see some sort of policy or rules implemented that my limit my playing opportunities to help a smaller district with less players (not that is what's happening... just hypothetically).

    Also, USTA is retarded... when is the last time you sent a letter? They should provide and email or a online form for player input/feedback. If they want verification, ask for your USTA number.... SMH!

    Topaz - are you serious? You need about 4 teams to play 2x a week? I joined two teams and seemed like I have more tennis than I knew what to do with... but then again I was also had tennis sessions set up at FRC too.
     
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  11. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    That was Cindy, not me.

    And you most certainly do have to be a Usta member to play in DC. As someone who has actually captained and gone to Usta meetings in DC, I'm still confused why anyone thinks DC tennis is struggling to survive. Quite the contrary actually.
     
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  12. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Oops, my bad.

    I meant if you are a USTA member in VA, you don't have to buy another membership in DC - you just register for the DC team.
     
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  13. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Yes, but that is true across all areas. If you are a USTA member, that's good in VA, MD, DC, CA, FL....you get my drift.

    If you weren't a USTA member and you wanted to register in DC, you'd first have to buy or upgrade your USTA membership. Usually we all do that in VA first because that season simply starts first.
     
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  14. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Sp basicly If i understand this correctly Virginia controls 57% of the voting in the mid atlantic section meaning that Virginia can tell the rest of the section what to do and the rest of the section cant do much about it since all together they only have 43%.

    Seems a little unfair to me that VA would have that much power, 40% is still alot of voting power, it just means that VA has to get another state to support them rather than dictating what will be for the entire section now.
     
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  15. Humble_Warrior

    Humble_Warrior New User

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    I wonder if this is why the Sectionals are held in VA every year for the past seven years now.
     
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  16. Humble_Warrior

    Humble_Warrior New User

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    This would suggest that those that live in MD could only play in the county where they lived, i.e. Montgomery or Anne Arundel, but the VA district is simply NOVA. The USTA already destroyed the Men's league in PG County with their indistriminate moving up of players. The players simply got fed up and went to other areas to play or don't play USTA at all.
     
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  17. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    I wasn't suggesting that they could only play in their county, just that hypothetically, if DC was worried that non-residents were pushing out residents from DC leagues, they could try to limit the number of non-residents,not totally ban them.... but I doubt anything like that would happen.

    Also, curious about what happened in PG, if players were bumped up to a level where they are not competitive, I don't see how playing USTA in another area helps. A 3.5 in PG still have to play 3.5 in DC or VA.
     
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  18. Local Girl

    Local Girl New User

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    Check out the Mid-Atlantic website: midatlantic.usta.com
    They're retracting the quad league and blaming it on the BNP Paribas.
     
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  19. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Disappointing, but understandable.

    I was going to captain quad level this year. Bummer.
     
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  20. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

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    You can do a google search and find out that the decision to change to "Quad Level" was made by the tennis director at Indian Wells. Indian Wells hosts the National championships for Tri-level and they decided to change the format to Quad Level for 2013. Then they decided to change back the format to Tri-level.

    Edit: I can't find the link now, but the Tri-level national event is something that Indian Wells put together in conjunction with USTA. (I've never been, but I'm sure it's a nice event.) As an FYI, Tri-level is the only league that had a National Event before leagues were well established, and this is not what normally happens for a USTA league. For example, Combo is a huge & growing league but it does not have a National Championship at this point. Anyway, I believe that Indian Wells had a lot of control over the Tri-level National Championship, and they changed the format to Quad and asked the Sectionals to comply. You could still have a Tri-level league, but the winners would not advance to the National tournament at Indian Wells.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
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  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    The link suggested they were reverting back to Tri, not eliminating the league entirely.

    It is really hard to get on a Tri team around here. Each team only needs a few players at each level, so only the strongest need apply.

    It is the only league that does not reward or require depth, only strength.
     
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  22. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Yes, it went from tri to quad now back to tri. And the 3.0s are (understandably) hopping mad. Nova is in the middle of women's tri/quad/tri and it's been one huge mess.
     
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  23. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

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    I was talking about a different link. This one is a letter from the Indian Wells Tennis director to Sectional League Coordinators and it talks about the Quad level for 2013.

    http://assets.usta.com/assets/635/15/2012%20BNP%20PARIBAS%20OPEN%20TRI-LEVEL%20CHAMPIONSHIPS.pdf
     
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  24. Local Girl

    Local Girl New User

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    The Pacific Northwest Section does their tri-level (One Doubles) league as individual playing levels for men and women -- 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5. The teams are minimum 2 players, max 6 players. Each team match is just one doubles. This solves the problem of having to build a team with players at all playing levels.

    The 3.5 - 4.5 men & women teams that win at sectionals go to Indian Wells representing the Section.
     
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  25. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    Being a NoVA resident, I can understand why some folks would prefer to play in a league outside of their geographic residence state, for many reasons. But I don't understand why they should be able to play in multiple USTA sections at the same time. Just my humble opinion.......
     
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  26. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    ^^

    Agreed here, Hitman. Pick one. Granted, I'm not in a locale that suits itself to playing in multiple Districts...but the entire premise of it rubs me the wrong way. Like you, I can see living in one but playing in another (for logistics) but being able to pick-n-choose, eh, not so much. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Hedging your bets is best done only with a bad bookie.

    But this "grow the game" but not too much or "have too many" mantra by USTA stinks for USTA/VA. Don't tell us to increase participation, then sever our votes.

    And this whole tri-level/quad-level thing smells. Worse than the diapers I used to change.
     
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  27. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    As someone who lives in one state but plays in two others, I see nothing wrong with this. There are reasons to do this having nothing to do with hedging your bets.

    I play Virginia day league because it is a rare opportunity to play outdoors in the springtime, which is lovely after months of being indoors. I also like that the level of competition is high and I know none of my opponents so there is no history.

    I play DC because the culture there is different. I get to meet different people. I like that the ladies senior matches were at a convenient time and location for me. DC leagues advance to sectionals without the need to go to Districts.

    Also keep in mind that different jurisdictions play different formats at different times. The seniors league is in January in MD, but in the summer in DC. There is no singles league in MD, but VA has one for those interested in singles. VA had tri-level years before MD did. On the other hand, I don't like to do VA night leagues because of the traffic and the time limit of 90 minutes.

    If I had to pick just one league (MD), it would reduce my tennis opportunities considerably. How is that good for anyone?
     
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  28. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    ^^ We're just going to disagree on this one, Cindy. It's available to you...so by all mean, avail yourself of it. I hate to pull out the "fair" or "equal" clause but it just isn't. Those of us that live in the geographic center of a large District don't have the chance to try our luck(skills?) someplace else.

    I see playing in two different Districts (without any restriction) similar to the same one team playing weekday and weekend -- hence the 2-person rule. And while they've removed the % rule on how many can play up, you've still got to declare yourself before Districts. If you're playing in multiple Districts you don't have to declare doodley.

    No, what really needs to happen is MAS needs to suck it up and realign our "Districts" to make more sense out of how "regions" really work. West Virginia seems to have completely fallen off the map. Half (or more) of the "DC" teams don't live there and there's no reason the Outer Banks people shouldn't be grouped in with the Virginia Beach crowd.

    Again, I don't bemoan you the opportunity to play in three different Districts. I just don't think you should be allowed to.
     
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  29. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    It is definitely a situation that I think is somewhat unique to this area. It may get me in a pickle come districts time this year.

    AQ, I wouldn't mind having districts at the Outer Banks! :)
     
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  30. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I'm confused.

    If I join two 4.0 teams (say, one in Montgomery County and one in Howard County, MD) and both teams advance, I still have to declare before Districts.

    Also, the two-player rule prevents me from having my whole team compete in MOCO and HOCO in the same season.

    I guess I don't see the unfairness. I live in MOCO, so the closest venues for me are MOCO. If I want to play in another District, I have to drive, drive, drive. How far a drive would it be for you to play in the next closest league?

    I dunno, I guess I figure that having the opportunity to play in several leagues/counties at once is a function of living in a congested metro area. That's one of the benefits. One of the disadvantages would be how we have to have timed matches and pay $17/match for the court time.

    I guess I don't see what would be achieved by telling me that I cannot play in Virginia as well as MOCO if I am willing to make the drive and deal with the traffic. If the objection is that it isn't fair because I get extra playing opportunities . . . I could say that it is not fair that people in your area don't have to pay the kind of court fees we must pay. I guess my point is that just because something is different doesn't make it unfair.

    I'm still confused.

    For Virginia, there seem to be several regions. When I went to Sectionals, it seemed like Virginia was over-represented. Meaning there were more VA teams than DC or MD. This makes sense, given that there are more VA players.

    Are you saying that VA should be divided into smaller districts so there could be more of them so players could have more playing options? I guess that would be fine, but it seems that Northern Virginia is already kind of maxed out given that they play timed matches and only get 90 minutes. I guess if NOVA wanted to kick out all non-resident players to make way for their own players, that would be justifiable.
     
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  31. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    What's to be confused about? MOCo and Howard County are in the same District. Maryland.

    Exactly.

    But where's the rule preventing you from taking that MOCO team...and playing with that entire team....in DC? That's my point. If I recall correctly, there's still a declaration that's got to be made before Sectionals, but just like the Sections not DQing at Sectionals, I think it's too late and the damage has already been done.

    Not the same question. The real question is how far would I have to drive to play in a different District. The answer to that one is over two hours. The answer to your question is still over an hour away (in Fredericksburg).

    Still, two hours, for a dedicated player might be acceptable. But let's ask the guys in Austin or Miami or Seattle what their answer would be.

    True on the first sentence. But we've got some of our own issues with the last. We, too, have timed matches (during the indoor season) and a growing number of clubs here charge for court time as well.

    As far as USTA/MAS and USTA/VA is concerned, we are not broken up into "regions" (like, say, Florida is). There is only one "Districts" tournament and the teams must come from all over the state to that one same spot.

    As for "over-representation" at Sectionals, if that's the case at all, that's a fairly new phenomena. At the 3.5 level I'm most familiar with...as recently as 2008, there was only one team from each District: VA, MD, WV and DC. But the following year, 2009, WV threw in the towel (so to speak) and gave up their "slot" to MAS...who apparently awarded in to VA. It was my understanding that it was to be rotated (mostly between just VA and MD). But VA got that slot again in 2010. Last year, MAS Sectionals had/hosted a completely different format with three teams from VA, two teams from MD and one from DC.

    I just think the whole Section could be divided more along "regional" lines as opposed to hard-and-fast, state borders. Should the Prince William County folks have to play in Fredericksburg? Maybe. Or the Loudon County folks with Winchester? I dunno. I don't live up there but do know y'all drive too darn much for your own good. Our own metro area is/can be large. As one of the more outlying clubs, when we play a club from deep on the Southside, someone's got close to an hour drive (or more). In fact, some of the mens leagues are loosely divided up into Northside and Southside flights just to minimize travel times...so more of our "hobby" time can perhaps be spent on the court rather than the road. If you want more people to be involved, you've got to make it as logical and convenient as you can.

    I just think holding to the old ways can be the equivalent of sticking your head in the sand and ignoring that times have changed. A more honest look at who the players are and where they (live/work/most desire to play) might yield a more cohesive overall league structure.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
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  32. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    I don't know the geography of most of the major metropolitan areas across the country but I do think the VA/DC/MD is a rather unique one. Here you have access to three full-fledged USTA "Districts" in a relatively small area...including one that has a fairly small total population as well as tennis-playing residents (DC). That a city with the population size and geographic area of the District of Columbia is its own USTA District is poor management. Their estimated population of ~600,000 is less than our own Richmond metro area yet we've had to slug it out with more people/potential players...just to win our area's flight...much less win our state's District.

    No, I think a better model might come from the Heartland. Take a look at how the area around Kansas City is structured. Two states are part of the KC metro area, yet it's just one District. I don't know enough about the Chicago area to know if they are in a similar situation. Three districts in a (relatively) small geo area....but I'd argue that Chicago and DC are not the same beasts and have vastly differing population sizes and types. Let's face it; many of DC's residents are transients. Just go ask the families who've lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Tops they're there is 8 years. Some only 4. And you and I both know that, with few exceptions, DC is a virtual ghost town on the weekends.

    That...would be Sa-Weet!
     
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  33. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OK. I didn't understand that "District" meant "State."


    The rule that prevents me from taking my whole team to DC is the two-player rule. In Mid-Atlantic, you cannot have more than two players on the same team in the same division. So if my favorite MOCO partner and I decide to play in on my MD team and also join a DC team, no one else from my MD team can go with us. That rule applies for the entire season, not just the post-season.


    If I want to play in NOVA or Howard County or Frederick County, I need to be prepared to drive. The distances are not great; the traffic is a nightmare. Even in my home county, the farthest venue for me is Fairlands. That is one hour of driving each way for me, assuming decent traffic.

    The point, though, is that you have the same exact choice to make as I do. If you want to play in additional leagues, you have to drive. You alone have to decide whether it is worth it. I have declined many invitations to play Howard County and Prince George's County because I do not yet own a helicopter.

    I guess I don't see what the problem is that needs to be addressed. I mean, if a person chooses to live in a rural area or one with fewer tennis players, that person will have fewer playing options than someone who lives in a more congested area.

    Take the sunnier climates, like Florida or Atlanta. They have it good. They can play outdoors year around, they can play for much less money. They have more playing options. Good for them. Let them enjoy the tennis benefits of living where they live. What reason is there to prevent me from having better tennis options or conditions than you have? I just don't understand, given that what I am doing up here in Suburban MD doesn't affect you in VA at all.

    Same here. There is one MD Districts, and all MD teams must meet there to determine our representatives at sectionals.

    Yes, I was thinking more of senior ladies and senior mixed, as that is the only time I have been to sectionals.

    For senior 3.5 ladies, there were two VA teams, one DC and one MD.

    For 7.0 senior mixed, there were two VA, two MD and one DC.

    Sure. Maybe VA needs to re-draw its lines or re-organize.

    Why do VA's troubles mean the rules should be that I can't go play in DC or VA if I want? That's the part I don't get when I say I am confused.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
    #33
  34. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    Great dialog! I have a better understanding now of the issues. I guess I have just learned over the years that, unfortunately, many USTA players, captains, and teams will take advantage of every loophole in the rules, if they can. That's the American Way! C'est la vie.......
     
    #34
  35. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Sorry for the delay in a final response from me. Spent the better part of the day preparing for a day-long Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser...tomorrow. If I never see another pasta noodle again....

    Back to our discussion.

    I decided to go back through the thread to see how we ended where we did and I found two things Cindy said that made me (re?)think some of my position.

    First, she came out and said what I danced around:

    I'd venture the friction isn't just with MD. It's also a way for VA players to avoid having to slug it out in VA Districts which is an expensive, grueling and uncertain 3-day adventure.

    I took a look at DC’s 3.5 & 4.0 M & W “winners" from 2011 and true enough, they certainly seemed to be of the “all-star” variety. All four teams were undefeated in the sole flight for each group and less than 1/3 of any of the 4 teams had DC addresses. No flight playoffs, no Districts. Just an “Advance to Go, Collect your Sectional Slot” card.

    Then, in a bit more round about way, Cindy asked why wouldn’t having more opportunities to play by being able/allowed to play in other Districts be a good thing.

    In general, I’ll give you that more opportunities for more people is usually a good thing. And I guess, if I lived where you do, I might do as you too and play wherever my skills proved most valuable (to my team and myself). Hey, if the rules allow it, the District most being taken advantage of (although they may think they’re taking advantage of you!) seems to play along too, then by all means, play on.

    And she properly corrected my misunderstanding about MAS’s “2-person rule” applying even across District lines. Rather, it doesn’t apply across all the Divisions. Confusing, that. Since I don't think it's ever been an issue in our area, it's not directly spelled out in the 2-page "explanation" our area issues on that rule.

    If anything, the 2-person rule forces "all-star" teams. I'm undecided on whether that's a good thing on not. In general, in our area, teams are associated with clubs or neighborhoods or fairly close geographic areas. In fact, most of the clubs have very strict requirements on the make-ups of their teams. But more recently, we (as a community) have come to realize that kind of structure makes it relatively difficult to field a super-strong team to compete at Districts/Sectionals and beyond. So, a few "all-star" teams have sprung up; some with mega success. I like the cohesiveness of our "affiliated" teams but appreciate the need and desire for independent and/or all-star teams.

    I fear I maybe strayed a bit but I wanted to acknowledge Cindy's point about the 2-person business since I had previously used it as one of my reasons for not wanting cross-district play.

    Where we might continue to diverge is, however, is probably on the concept of playoffs. And I guess I’m coming around to the same feelings that I’ve come to develop on self-rates. You can play all the regular season you want, but don’t plan on advancing unless you get a C rating. So, I guess I’ll amend my thinking to postulate the same rules for playing across District lines. Play all the regular season you want (or can), just don’t think you can shop for an easy (mark) District and glide your way to the next level. Or, in the interest of some flexibility, create some sort of residency rule (say a certain percentage...similar to the way some Sections/Districts only allow a certain percentage of playing “up”).

    The best analogy I can think of comes from World Cup (in soccer/football) and even Davis Cup for tennis. David Beckham has played for teams in Spain, Italy and the US. But when it’s time for his sport’s ultimate “team” championship, he goes home. And wears the Red & White cross of England. Andy Roddick plays tournaments around the globe, but come Davis Cup time, he’s wearing the Stars & Stripes.

    Otherwise, perhaps it’s time to get rid of the DC USTA District. It’s clear they don’t have enough residents to field anything remotely resembling a flight like their neighboring “Districts” (even with allowing “outsiders” to pay-n-play). As a bone, allow DC residents to play (even in the post-season) for either MD or VA....but get rid of all the administrative costs of running a District for the District of Columbia

    So there you have it. To keep the dialog civil and on-point, I’ll leave it at that. Early on, I said we’d probably just disagree. And we still might...but I know I’ve learned more about our Sections workings. And that’s a good thing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
    #35
  36. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Interesting points, AQ. And you and Cindy are spot on in that the structure in DC allows players from both MD and VA to form 'all star' teams with the goal of making it to sectionals. I'm not going to lie, I've been parts of those efforts in the past, and possibly in the future. Any small league presents people with the same opportunity. For everyone. So, when people have complained that my outdoor team (which usually goes to districts after winning the league...a league that at times has had a total of two teams in it) gets to go to districts, I point out that others have the ability to take advantage of the same opportunities we do. Form a team and do it. And then I also point out that we do well at districts...it isn't like we don't belong.

    But as AQ knows, VA districts is insanely hard. A ton of matches, $$$ for overnights at hotels, and unbelievable heat. This past year was a bit of an exception in that the format actually made it easier to advance, since three VA teams went through (and personally, I think that is fair given the huge number of players and teams in VA). So, when the opportunity to advance without having to do that comes up, of course people are going to jump on it.

    I used to disagree with the idea of not letting self-rates advance to post season play, but I have to say...I'm definitely coming around to that idea. Sure, there are a few legit self-rates out there, but these days...they are a tiny, tiny minority. Gotta earn your stripes for one year!
     
    #36
  37. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Boy, the TT ladies are an interesting bunch. Thoughtful, civil, respectful discussion. Gotta love it.

    A few random points and observations.

    AQ, I think you have identified a way in which my tennis universe is different from yours. We are not organized by club at all. Many of us are not members of any club, and many club players choose club-based alternatives to USTA (GUIDA and Interclub).

    It is therefore easy to join many teams with your BFF partner and not violate the two-player rule. I plan to play MOCO and DC this spring with my BFF partner.

    Yes, VA districts is much harder than MD districts. We don't need hotel rooms, as the venue is centrally located for most teams. Now that two teams advance, you can "throw" the final and not put out your best players, secure in the knowledge that you will advance.

    Part of that seems to be that VA allows a lot more types of teams to advance. You guys have an NOVA outdoor league and also a day league that advances. Maybe cutting back on that would help make VA Districts less of a death march?

    And Topaz is right: The way to sneak your way into Nationals is to find opportunities to play in small leagues (DC). That is essentially what my DC senior 3.5 ladies team did. The team was truly a DC team in that it has existed for years and the captains are icons in DC. The six players who played all of the matches at Nationals were from Maryland, however.

    I captain a spring team each year, and I cannot even imagine what it would take to get to Nationals. I'd need to find 5-6 rock-solid singles players. I'd have to use my remaining slots for amazing doubles players. Then we would have to slog through a long regular season (18 matches last year), then Districts. Then we would have to slay the VA beasts.

    We never even came close.
     
    #37
  38. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Cindy, you guys certainly did come close! I don't think anyone had the two MD teams advancing that did...we all thought it was you and you-know-who!
     
    #38
  39. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    We would have been crushed in singles. Our ladies did their best, but the other singles players at districts were more than we could handle.

    I guess one advantage of 4.0 is we don't have to deal with you-know-who anymore.
     
    #39
  40. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Ha, unfortunately, I don't have that luxury!!! She who will not be named tried to recruit one of my best friends, but I put my foot down!

    Actually, I would've played mixed for her, had she asked, but I think I am forever blackballed in her mind for not playing for her last year. Here I thought I was going to play for a less stressful team, but little did I know! ;) Still, I had a very good experience with the captain I did play for.
     
    #40
  41. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    I will be attending the DC captains' meeting next month (probably, unless one of our others gals can go). A meeting that is always quite well attended, located in Southeast DC (locals know that's a tough hood, but even there, in the hood, is a beautiful and very active tennis and youth center), by many actual, real-life, DC residents! ;)
     
    #41
  42. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Are you going to play 4.0 also?

    I am joining the team that finished 3-4 last season. My main partner is on that team.
     
    #42
  43. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Yes, in VA. I did last season, too, on a pretty strong team, but only got four matches, going 2-2. I'll be staying on the same team (NOVA). I'll also be playing 4.0 in another VA league (eh hem...;) ), so probably won't try to also do 4.0 in MD. Definitely doing 3.5 in MD and DC. Doing it in NOVA, too, but not really sure for who yet, haha! Not sure if the NOVA outdoor team will happen again...it is always an afterthought once the other leagues get started, which helps navigate the 2-person (or 3-person in this case) rule. Plus I'm doing a 4.0 singles team currently (and 3.5, plus mixed).

    VA and MD 3.5 adult districts are the same d*mn weekend this year, which makes me want to cry. And again, it is VA that makes it difficult, because it is always so far away. MD is actually closer for me...I get to sleep in my own bed!
     
    #43
  44. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    Topaz, what is your geographic location?
     
    #44
  45. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Just south of yours. Also starts with an 'A'. Has a section called Old Town. Lol.
     
    #45
  46. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Regarding playing 3.5 . . . have you considered playing hard to get?

    In other words, you are in considerable demand as a top 3.5 singles player. The strategy is you don't commit to a 3.5 team until you see how the season unfolds. Then you swoop in and play two matches. You skip into Districts as fresh as a daisy without having to slog through the regular season, so you save your legs for your 4.0 matches (which you use to hone your 3.5 chops).
     
    #46
  47. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Ok, let me see if I get this straight.

    Our USTA/MAS President, Kathy Stroop, sent some kind of email to USTA/VA members. Text here. I am a USTA/VA member. I did not receive that email.

    Then, our USTA/VA President, Wayne McCoy, posts a Message from The President on the USTA/VA website talking about a "move" to dilute Virginia's voting strength. That message is the one I believe JRS linked to in the OP for this thread.

    Now, there is a more official "reply" to Ms. Stroop's letter in which Mr McCoy names names and gives some of the particulars I asked for in my earlier post in this thread. And in a blistering accusation, Mr. McCoy says "[Ms Stroop] has acknowledged to me and to the MAS Board of Directors that she and others deliberately went behind our backs without a Mid-Atlantic Board vote in order to surprise us and to advance their agenda without any attempt whatsoever to move for change at the Sectional level." Followed by this heavy-hitting statement: "Ms. Stroop has breached her fiduciary duty to the USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section throughout her term as President by continually ignoring the current Bylaws."

    Ouch, ouch and double-ouch. Somebody's in trouble over this one. Or should be. That's a lot of mud-slinging and high-level politicking.

    On a completely different note: after looking up all the USTA/MAS Board of Directors...only a few...even play USTA League or tournaments. Oh sure, USTA is more than just league/tournament play...but c'mon, it's a big part of it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
    #47
  48. USS Tang

    USS Tang Rookie

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    Speaking of Virginia, does anybody know the USTA code number for the Kings Mill Tournament to be played on May 26-27? I cannot find it under any of the various USTA websites. Thanks.
     
    #48
  49. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the update AQ!

    BTW- I'm not surprised that there are board members who don't play leagues. Heck, there seem to be more than a few team captains who run multiple teams but don't play. It would be nice if they were required to play at least one league a season, but I wonder if it might be a conflict of interest as if there were any problems on court as they would be the person overseeing the issue.
     
    #49
  50. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

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    All of the USTA Sections report directly to USTA National. If Mid Atlantic was really so in the wrong, I would think that USTA National would get involved. Seems like there's a lot of finger pointing one way. I'm sure there's more to this than meets the eye.
     
    #50

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