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:
Originally Posted by Cindysphinx
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'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.
Originally Posted by Cindysphinx
If I had to pick just one league (MD), it would reduce my tennis opportunities considerably. How is that good for anyone?
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 Division
s. 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.