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-   -   Get off the courts! (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=455024)

TTMR 02-17-2013 07:43 AM

Get off the courts!
 
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?

Anton 02-17-2013 08:04 AM

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

IA-SteveB 02-17-2013 08:11 AM

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.

omega4 02-17-2013 08:12 AM

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.

Quote:

Originally Posted by TTMR (Post 7219757)
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?


dcdoorknob 02-17-2013 08:13 AM

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.

NLBwell 02-17-2013 09:09 AM

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.

TTMR 02-17-2013 09:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NLBwell (Post 7219986)
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.

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.

North 02-17-2013 09:40 AM

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.

NLBwell 02-17-2013 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TTMR (Post 7220075)
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.

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.

rkelley 02-17-2013 09:51 AM

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.

Player#1 02-17-2013 10:31 AM

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

Overdrive 02-17-2013 10:32 AM

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

Cindysphinx 02-17-2013 10:33 AM

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.

Alex78 02-17-2013 10:43 AM

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.

TTMR 02-17-2013 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alex78 (Post 7220356)
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.

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.

Tammo 02-17-2013 11:01 AM

Play him in a match. Or start to serve and smash a kid in the guts.

Cindysphinx 02-17-2013 11:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TTMR (Post 7220386)
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.

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.

Overdrive 02-17-2013 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7220440)
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.

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)

TTMR 02-17-2013 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7220440)
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 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.

Quote:

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.
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.

mizzoutiger2013 02-17-2013 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Player#1 (Post 7220327)
If I were in the position of that coach, I would have made you leave the court limping with your tail between your legs!

+1. Well Said.


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