Son's First USTA Match...Sort of...
My son "attended" his first USTA match today. He's in his school's B tennis squad and was to play line 1 today. I dropped him off, took my younger son to hang out at my wife's ALTA match, and returned about an hour later. There was my son, sitting on the court bench, his partner and one opponent playing. The three were playing singles taking turns rotating out and having a good time.
I quietly walked up to the fence and asked my son what happened. He said one opposing player didn't show up and, after a forty minute wait, his coach finally took the default. At that point the father of the opposing kid who was playing casually with my son went ballistic and started screaming at my son's coach calling him an A-hole for all the other parents and kids to hear.
The maniac's kid was really nice and a gentleman. He was also waaay beyond the B group's skill. His strokes were fully developed, mechanically text book perfect, and his serve motion was beautiful. His only weakness was to go for too much on some shots but that's just a matter of developing better shot selection and judgement. In any case, the B group is a mix of kids from some with a few good shots but a very incomplete game to brand spanking new to tennis.
Some parents and my son's coach protested the maniac's son's participation but less vocally than the maniac screamed about the default. The maniac's son ended up playing line 5 (yes, line 5) which was mixed doubles.
Towards the end of the match when line 5 was winding down and I had returned from another session watching my wife's match for a little while, I politely and calmly asked the maniac dad why he had his son playing down so low since that can ruin his timing when he later plays up at a more appropriate level. He started going off on me! I smiled and quietly left with my son.
In watching his interaction with his son he was clearly the Bad Tennis Parent straight from central casting. The kid was nice and clearly felt the pressure from dad. He had the usual Babolat APD which I noticed was strung with full poly (PHT). The only thing I can figure out is that dad was trying to do one of two things, or maybe both: boost his son's USTA record with easy wins and/or build his confidence with easy wins. Otherwise it made no sense to play down so far.
As for my son, in spite of the prospect of facing such a superior player he was very disappointed that they couldn't play their match. And he was also really happy to hit with his partner and the opposing Mini-Nadal for an hour of singles. The Mini-Nadal won every time but my son took the right lesson from the experience: he described what he felt he was doing wrong and realized that he could still hit winners and generate UEs from the mini-Nadal even though the other kids was clearly more experiences and skilled. Simply by hitting within himself he felt like he could compete against someone like that with more work on movement and net play. He made lemonade out of his match lemon.
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