USTA - Adult League/Age changes - DON'T LIKE IT
When the USTA announced last year your changes in the leagues with the addition of the age groups, I knew it was going to be a detriment to my age group, 18-39. I knew it was going to affect mine and my peers' opportunities to play one way or another. When the USTA sent me a survey, I shared my thoughts. I also shared them with the league coordinator of the local league for which I was playing at the time.
Now here we are, ratings are out, and spring USTA teams are forming. And just as I thought, I cannot play on my prior 4.0 day team now. I was the only player under 40 on my team. In the Charlotte metro league, it was announced recently that 18 + 4.0 day teams will play on Monday mornings, and 40 + 4.0 get to play on Fridays. Of course there are night or weekend leagues I could choose to play in, however there are problems with that also for my age group as well.
Let me outline my reasons I feel this is a detriment to 18-39 year olds below.
-18-39 year old women are the busiest group of women that play in the USTA. Most women work that are in my age group, yet we could get away during the day on Fridays, as Fridays tend to be less busy for working women/mothers/stay at home mothers than MONDAY MORNINGS. I'm not sure where the logic is here. 40+ year old day players typically don't work or have school aged children to tend to. Doesn't it make sense for them to play on Monday mornings?
-Working mothers have a hard time playing in the evenings or on the weekends because of long work hours and family committments, so Friday mornings were a decent time to be able to get a match in.
-Stay at home 18-39 mothers (who you may think can play Monday mornings) also can't typically play in the evenings or on the weekends because of after school, sports, and other family committments, so Friday mornings were a good alternative. Also, have you ever tried to get children out the door to school on Monday mornings? It's hard any day of the week, but Mondays are the worst. So this now also alienates many 18-39 year old stay at home moms from playing because Monday mornings or weeknights are bad options for moms.
-It's not fair that we are inherently limited in how much we can play. If I were 40, I could play two times. I could play with my age group and with the lower group, and so on. That is not fair to my age group.
-I am a member of a club that I pay hard earned money to be a part of. I want to play with my clubmates. I can't do that because as you all know, most clubs CANNOT facilitate night teams. I bet you maybe 1 out of 15 can, if that. So I can't play with the ladies I know well and play with most of the time. If I am able to play in the evening, I am forced to play at public courts that are often times in dangerous, poorly lit, unmonitored places (at least in Charlotte), AND I have to pay extra fees for playing at public courts in addition to the league fees I am already playing. You also lose the "team spirit" when you don't play with ladies you know and play with all the time.
What will happen is this... 18-39 year old ladies will start to fall out of the USTA because of lack of teams/opportunities to play for and poor time options to play. It will degrade competition and the good level of play we get when we face a variety of player styles, ages, etc for all of us, but particularly the 18-39 age group. Do you really want to lose a large majority of this age group? Aren't you kind of cutting yourself off at the knees by alienating your future, long term league players?
I understand there a a few different times to play, but come on... 18+ on Monday mornings and 40+ on Friday mornings (4.0)? Don't you think that needs to be reversed for the reasons I have outlined above, and many more that I don't want to state that could seem presumptious but are likely true? I know it is likely too late to make these changes for spring 2013, but you REALLY need to think long and hard about this decision for the future years. I can't think of hardly any 18-39 day lady that I know that could swing a Monday morning. You might as well eliminate that timeslot.
Thank you in advance for considering my points. If you feel the same way I do email your regional, state, and local USTA coordinators. You can find them on the USTA website. Have a good evening... I need to go find another team to play on now.