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Old 02-04-2013, 06:58 PM   #38
skiracer55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NLBwell View Post
I'm highly competitive in everything I do and want to be the best at whatever I do, so I'm highly competitive in tennis. That's why I spend a lot of time practicing, not just playing hit and giggle tennis. That's why I achieved a decently high level at tennis. Even though I know I will never be even close to the level I used to play, I still strive to improve given present circumstances. It was never about winning or losing matches - if someone wants to win matches they can be a 3.0 sandbagger - it has always been about achieving as high a level as possible.
...some interesting things to note about this thread...which has passed through the TW fora a few times, in different guises:

- The OP started by saying "After reading a number of threads in this sub forum, I think I might be the only one who thinks that some players take their league tennis way too seriously." So this is also my take, looking from the outside, at the way some league players look at USTA life on a tennis court.

- However...and there's nothing wrong with this...some replies shift over to "This is how I think you ought to treat league tennis." As in where Cindyspinx says "Let me splash cold water on this little love fest: Losing sucks a lot.

Or, more accurately, losing a lot sucks.

I was on a losing team as a 3.0 in 2006. We finished 0-11. We won two individual matches. By the end we looked like whipped puppies. It was no fun. If you lose all the time, you never get a rush, and it is dispiriting."

...to which Gameboy replies, and this might be the central issue of wins and losses in USTA leagues:

"

Cindy, all that says is that people on your team were playing at the wrong level.

"Competitiveness" has little meaning in an artificially stratified system like USTA tennis."

In other words, as NLBwell says, above, if ya wanna win, sandbag like there is no tomorrow.

- The kind of interesting codicil to all this is another thread that goes round and round, which is "USTA leagues need to change because [and you fill in the blank, where cheating, sandbagging, unsportsmanlike conduct, and so forth, are just the start of the list].

The thing is, the USTA league approach to tennis probably isn't going to change now or any time soon...which means if you don't like what you see in USTA leagues, you can leave, as JoeyG notes:

"Let me clarify my position a bit. I love a tough match. I also hate to lose any match. I feel that USTA league tennis went sideways the moment they allowed a player to play on multiple teams. As far as I am concerned, team camaraderie went away and that is when you started to see matches become a blood sport played by mercenaries. The "COME ON", FIST PUMPING mentality pretty much started then. I am sure everyone knows at least one captain that recruits from everywhere and tries to get players to under rate their playing abilities. These slimeballs (and the players they recruit) are the real reason I stepped away from league tennis."

It's not a jailbreak...there is life outside of USTA leagues on a tennis court, even if you want to play competitively...try age groups, for example, which tend to be highly competitive but with real sportsmanship, IMHO.

My winter sport is Masters alpine ski racing. There's sort of an NTRP equivalent, but what most racers care about, in terms of pure results, is how they do in their age group and how they do overall in the whole field...and it's not just kids who top out the Elites (top 15, regardless of age, across all age groups, men and women). I'm 64 and every time I step into the start gate I'm racing against at least 3 or 4 present or former Masters National Champions, and we all know whoever wins our class is probably going to make top 5 in the elites.

And yep, none of us Chronologically Challenged ski racers like losing, but what we really like is going faster on skis than most people can legally drive their cars...and a few beers after the race...so we all get along pretty well.

There's also one major difference between tennis and ski racing: yeah, you have something to lose on a tennis court, namely: a match. In ski racing, sometimes you lose more than the race. You end up in the ER. I've broken ribs, an arm, my collar bone, dislocated my shoulder, torn cartilage in my knee, torn my rotator cuff...let's see, I think that's about it. Which is not much, really. One of my teammates was on the podium and dumped it three gates from the finish in the National DH two seasons ago...and ended up with a broken tib/fib, torn patellar tendon, blown ACL, and a compromised tibial plateau. But he's done his rehab, and is back on the snow this year.

So ski racers compete fiercely, but they also know that ski racers are a family, and you embrace your friends when they get hurt.

Or die. Harold Westcott was one of the Senior Citizens (read: even older than I am) who retired and followed his passion, which was to be the best ski racer he could be.

Which he did. He had a breakthrough downhill race, best race he ever skied, best result, and everybody knew it and was overjoyed for him, even the guys he waxed. Next day, same course, he dies during the race. It's not a tragedy, however, because we all know he had a big smile on his face...
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