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.
-- Random Error Generator, Version 4.0
-- Master Moonballer