Line-Ups Are Written In Blood

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Just got back from sectionals, and yes, you guessed it, there was Drama.

My 55+ team made it to sectionals (I am not the captain). Our lovely captain has been trying to get there for years, but could never make it past the Dynasty team that always wins the flight. Our captain was delighted and thought we had a real shot to get to Nationals this year. We all practiced hard in the DC summer heat so we could play our best. The team was so enthusiastic that about 13 women decided to attend sectionals. The captain, wanting to be straight with everyone, identified three players who would not be in the line-up but would be "back-ups."

One of the back-ups was Becky.

The captain was returning from an international trip, and she would not get to Sectionals until the afternoon of Day 2. She designated an acting captain, Jennifer. Jennifer is very nice, but has never been a captain before. The captain emailed Jennifer and the whole team the line-ups for the first two matches.

Jennifer went with the line-up for the first match, and we won the team match 2-1. Uneventful.

The line-up for the second match was as follows:

Court One: Cindysphinx/Carol
Court Two: Lisa/Lynne
Court Three: Jennifer/Jackie

After the line-up was turned in, Lisa flounced over to a chair near me and said, "I don't know why we're not putting out our strongest teams!" It turns out that Becky had suggested to Jennifer that Becky partner with Lynne instead of Lisa. *And Jennifer said yes.* Jennifer definitely did not consult the captain about this change, and she did not consult the team, or Lisa, or Lynne. She just made the change.

The captain arrived at the tail end of Becky/Lynne's match to see them lose, which meant we lost the team match 1-2 and were pretty much mathematically eliminated. Afterward, the captain was pretty upset that her line-up had been changed. This is especially so since Becky is a very weak player who cannot run; Lynne also cannot run but Lisa has wheels and is much stronger than Becky.

I have to say, if my acting captain changed my line-up without my permission in the playoffs, it had better be because somebody broke her leg *and the bone was sticking out.* And if one of my weak, benched players persuaded my inexperienced captain to change the line-up so she could put her own interests ahead of the team, I'd want her head on a platter.

So our team lost its shot at the semi-finals -- because of friggin' Becky.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
I have my line-up story tooo.
Before the season, captain asked us for our preferred and not-desired double partner. I told him i didnt want to pair up with a guy, who's a friend, but we don't get along on tennis court. He was playing up but he literally told me he did not want my tennis advice. I am the best double player on the team, so i am willing to partner with weaker guys. But if he doesn't want to listen to me, then its not a good idea to play together.
So one day, we finished our match, everyone won so we just chat outside the court. I overheard my captain telling the guy that i didn't want to pair up with him because of this and that.
My captain snitched on me. Never again, captain. :)
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
@Cindysphinx isn't it funny that everyone wants the "fun" part of being a captain but not the hard parts?

The "fun" part is putting together a winning lineup. Depending on the team and the prospective opponent it can be easy or it can take careful planning. Doing it right can bring an average-talent team into the playoffs. Doing it wrong can take a strong team and leave them looking on.

What the non-captains don't see is all of that work behind that line-up.

I am curious regarding what exactly your captain said and to whom (if you were privy to it)
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
@Cindysphinx isn't it funny that everyone wants the "fun" part of being a captain but not the hard parts?

The "fun" part is putting together a winning lineup. Depending on the team and the prospective opponent it can be easy or it can take careful planning. Doing it right can bring an average-talent team into the playoffs. Doing it wrong can take a strong team and leave them looking on.

What the non-captains don't see is all of that work behind that line-up.

I am curious regarding what exactly your captain said and to whom (if you were privy to it)
You mean afterward?

I know she told Becky as Becky was leaving the court something like, "I wasn't going to play you. I was going to put Lisa in with Lynne." Becky says her feelings are hurt, because no one wants to hear after a loss that the captain didn't want them to play.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I have my line-up story tooo.
Before the season, captain asked us for our preferred and not-desired double partner. I told him i didnt want to pair up with a guy, who's a friend, but we don't get along on tennis court. He was playing up but he literally told me he did not want my tennis advice. I am the best double player on the team, so i am willing to partner with weaker guys. But if he doesn't want to listen to me, then its not a good idea to play together.
So one day, we finished our match, everyone won so we just chat outside the court. I overheard my captain telling the guy that i didn't want to pair up with him because of this and that.
My captain snitched on me. Never again, captain. :)
Yup, I inherited half of a team some years ago when a bunch of people walked out on their captain. She committed two sins.

First, she told players why others didn't want to play with them. This cheesed off the players who learned the truth, and it cheesed off those who thought the captain should keep their confidences.

Second, the group that left consisted of wives of diplomats or something from Spain, Bolivia, Peru, etc. The captain told them to stop talking to one another in Spanish.

Poof! Just like that, I had all these great players. Sadly, one by one, they all moved home. Bummer.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
You mean afterward?

I know she told Becky as Becky was leaving the court something like, "I wasn't going to play you. I was going to put Lisa in with Lynne." Becky says her feelings are hurt, because no one wants to hear after a loss that the captain didn't want them to play.
Becky can go bawl in her beer bottle. She knew before sectionals that she was only a benchwarmer.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
Yup, I inherited half of a team some years ago when a bunch of people walked out on their captain. She committed two sins.

First, she told players why others didn't want to play with them. This cheesed off the players who learned the truth, and it cheesed off those who thought the captain should keep their confidences.

Second, the group that left consisted of wives of diplomats or something from Spain, Bolivia, Peru, etc. The captain told them to stop talking to one another in Spanish.

Poof! Just like that, I had all these great players. Sadly, one by one, they all moved home. Bummer.
Dang your captain is horrible.
 
The captain was returning from an international trip,...
That's what makes league tennis SO much FUN!--all the drama that makes for endless post season banter. "Sorry, can't make it to sectionals, have a wedding to attend in Mexico". "Where's the turn off to Carmel, I just passed Salinas"-(match is starting in three minutes.) People have their priorities, and tennis isn't always numero uno. Why would the captain plan a trip knowing that her team may be in playoffs? Was she picking up a Noble Prize?
 

Doan

New User
Captain's fault for choosing someone inexperienced to handle those duties. I'm sure she's beating herself up over that decision.
 
Just got back from sectionals, and yes, you guessed it, there was Drama.

[stuff deleted for brevity]

So our team lost its shot at the semi-finals -- because of friggin' Becky.
Sorry for your loss! It stings when it is the result of non-tennis factors that were within someone's control [as opposed to, say, weather or illness/injury].

Another way of looking at it is that Jennifer was the cause of the loss: Becky making suggestions was a potential pitfall to be avoided, like the Sirens singing to Odysseus' crew*. But so were a bunch of other things that didn't happen: Another team member could have decided to party the night before [like Kyrgios did at Wimbledon] and be unfit to play the next day. Or maybe decided to race someone up the stairs and twisted an ankle. Etc.

The captain trusted Jennifer to execute the lineup as previously agreed and Jennifer failed to do so; maybe she doesn't have the personality needed to tell someone "no". She was the weak link and Becky exploited it, just like a kid, knowing he'll get rejected by parentA, instead goes to work on parentB in parentA's absence. In this case, you don't blame the kid: you know he's going to try to get what he wants. You blame parentB for not following the script.

Perhaps also some of the blame goes to the captain for choosing Jennifer to be acting captain: why didn't she choose you, since you have experience?


*For those that don't know the story, the Sirens sang so beautifully that sailors would crash their boats on the rocks trying to get closer. Odysseus knew this but still wanted to hear them sing so he had his crew put wax in their ears and to tie him to the mast without wax. Now he could hear the singing but his crew could not, nor could they hear him screaming at them to get closer.

In retrospect, it seems a bit selfish of Odysseus. Did his crew resent him for attending the concert while they had to work parking detail outside?
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Why didn’t the captain choose me?

I had a death in the family,so I thought I couldn’t come to sectionals at all. But the funeral was moved back a week, so I was able to go after all.

You do have to be careful in who you ask to fill in for you as captain. I have had substitute captains make some ghastly mistakes. Some folks are not cut out for it, and most folks don’t know the rules.
 
Why didn’t the captain choose me?

I had a death in the family,so I thought I couldn’t come to sectionals at all. But the funeral was moved back a week, so I was able to go after all.

You do have to be careful in who you ask to fill in for you as captain. I have had substitute captains make some ghastly mistakes. Some folks are not cut out for it, and most folks don’t know the rules.
Sorry for your loss.

Hopefully the captain learned her lesson. One additional mistake she made, IMO, was explaining her strategy to Becky the Benchwarmer. At that point, there's no point in crying over spilled milk: the damage has already been done. The captain telling Becky is just salt in the wound, maybe to make the captain feel better and vent a little. Surely Becky already felt bad enough at that point [although she's not much of a team player or mature enough to accept the place on the bench since she knowingly contributed to the team loss].

Unfortunately, now everyone is upset:
- The captain, for the acting captain ignoring the lineup
- The acting captain, maybe at herself for giving in to Becky or at the captain for burdening her with the job
- Lynne, who got stuck with Becky instead of Lisa
- Lisa, who rode the bench
- The other 4 who played hard
- The other subs who dutifully played their role without complaining. I suspect they now feel like the Prodigal Son's brother.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I've been a captain and been acting captain. Typically you know the relative strengths of the members of your team. You also have heard which pairs work better together than others. I would think as the acting captain, unless there was an injury or unavailability; especially at play-offs or you guys were out of the running, there is no reason to change the line-up.

The players can voice their opinions. But it must be weighed against all the other available information.

I put this one on the acting captain.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
I would never do this as an acting captain at Sectionals. Shame on Becky and shame on Jennifer. If I were on that team I'd be furious that I spent good money and time only to have two people usurp the plans of the captain.

I have as an acting captain changed the lineup in a regular season match when the league was already decided and had requests from the players onsite to play a specific lineup. Proabably wouldn't do this again but have in the past.
 

pixel

New User
Jennifer got too excited. As someone mentioned here, there is a lot of research going on to the lineups. I captain multiple teams. Captains normally research who played at what line with whom and their results, then put players whom they think can play such players ( if it makes sense). It is very risky to change the lineup right before the match. I would have been furious too.

But what I didn't like was to sit certain players out. Its a team and perhaps those players could play once, each with a strong player.
 

pixel

New User
I would love to read some threads or tips on managing personalities, emotions, etc. as a league captain.
Haha...it can be a very thick book:

A doesn't want to play with B
B can only play with C and D
A,B,C,D don't want to travel to play and want to play just the home matches
C doesn't use technology. You have to personally call her
B uses technology but not the app you chose. So text her
A calls morning of the match with a family problem. Now you have to scramble and find a new player or forfeit
next time you learned your lessor so you ask C and D to be subs, but C doesn't want to wait till morning. She has things to do
You ask D to sub for the singles and she tells you she wishes you gave her more notice

on and on and on

but being a captain it is mostly fun. This is how I met most of my friends. I have really nice and cooperative players, but sometimes things can get a bit crazy!
 
But what I didn't like was to sit certain players out. Its a team and perhaps those players could play once, each with a strong player.
It depends on what sort of philosophy the captain had and whether it was clearly communicated before the season started. Assuming it was a "we're going for the W" and it was stated and everyone who signed up agreed [including Becky], then playing your strongest lineup and having the others as backups is completely fine. It sounds like this was the case. Becky tried to insert herself where the captain didn't want and Jennifer allowed it to transpire. Now everyone's unhappy.
 
Just got back from sectionals, and yes, you guessed it, there was Drama.

My 55+ team made it to sectionals (I am not the captain). Our lovely captain has been trying to get there for years, but could never make it past the Dynasty team that always wins the flight. Our captain was delighted and thought we had a real shot to get to Nationals this year. We all practiced hard in the DC summer heat so we could play our best. The team was so enthusiastic that about 13 women decided to attend sectionals. The captain, wanting to be straight with everyone, identified three players who would not be in the line-up but would be "back-ups."

One of the back-ups was Becky.

The captain was returning from an international trip, and she would not get to Sectionals until the afternoon of Day 2. She designated an acting captain, Jennifer. Jennifer is very nice, but has never been a captain before. The captain emailed Jennifer and the whole team the line-ups for the first two matches.

Jennifer went with the line-up for the first match, and we won the team match 2-1. Uneventful.

The line-up for the second match was as follows:

Court One: Cindysphinx/Carol
Court Two: Lisa/Lynne
Court Three: Jennifer/Jackie

After the line-up was turned in, Lisa flounced over to a chair near me and said, "I don't know why we're not putting out our strongest teams!" It turns out that Becky had suggested to Jennifer that Becky partner with Lynne instead of Lisa. *And Jennifer said yes.* Jennifer definitely did not consult the captain about this change, and she did not consult the team, or Lisa, or Lynne. She just made the change.

The captain arrived at the tail end of Becky/Lynne's match to see them lose, which meant we lost the team match 1-2 and were pretty much mathematically eliminated. Afterward, the captain was pretty upset that her line-up had been changed. This is especially so since Becky is a very weak player who cannot run; Lynne also cannot run but Lisa has wheels and is much stronger than Becky.

I have to say, if my acting captain changed my line-up without my permission in the playoffs, it had better be because somebody broke her leg *and the bone was sticking out.* And if one of my weak, benched players persuaded my inexperienced captain to change the line-up so she could put her own interests ahead of the team, I'd want her head on a platter.

So our team lost its shot at the semi-finals -- because of friggin' Becky.
My only question is... how is Becky still on this team after all these gripes about her over the years?
 

PK6

New User
Being a captain is hard work and thankless job. Understanding about other things going on-totally get that. With mixed doubles you don’t need to 18-20 players when you only have 3 matches/summer league is different but still difficult with vacations. Best way is to get players who want to play/are committed with no distractions. This is why I want only 10 maybe 12 for mixed doubles. Same with summer league otherwise is scheduling nightmare. You can’t have favorites you need to put best player/lineups to win. The saying Usta is supposed to be fun is ********. It’s supposed to be competitive which people don’t understand or have no clue. If it’s fun go play the mixers. I believe you have to treat Usta league matches seriously otherwise why bother playing/being captain.
 

Chalkdust

New User
The saying Usta is supposed to be fun is ********. It’s supposed to be competitive which people don’t understand or have no clue. If it’s fun go play the mixers. I believe you have to treat Usta league matches seriously otherwise why bother playing/being captain.
Eh? If it's not fun, then why do it? Are you being paid by the win or something?

It can be more fun than mixers etc because you get to play against a broader group of people, and you get to play against players at the same level (in theory anyway). Mixers tend to have more variation in level / skill, and be mostly the same group of player each time.
 

Hapa_dude

New User
My captain had a tough decision to make the first time my team went to Sectionals. Being a small team, many of us played both Fri and Sat and stayed in the area (2 hours away from home). One guy was scheduled to drive up to play Saturday afternoon and the captain was adamant for players to arrive at least 1 hour prior to the match. The lineup needed to be turned in 30 minutes ahead of time and the guy was still on the road w/ an ETA of 10-15 min prior to matchtime. Captain had to make the call and scratch him due to the risk. I didn't see the guy but when he arrived and was told he wasn't playing, he left and never spoke to us again!
 
My captain had a tough decision to make the first time my team went to Sectionals. Being a small team, many of us played both Fri and Sat and stayed in the area (2 hours away from home). One guy was scheduled to drive up to play Saturday afternoon and the captain was adamant for players to arrive at least 1 hour prior to the match. The lineup needed to be turned in 30 minutes ahead of time and the guy was still on the road w/ an ETA of 10-15 min prior to matchtime. Captain had to make the call and scratch him due to the risk. I didn't see the guy but when he arrived and was told he wasn't playing, he left and never spoke to us again!
While the player isn't blameless [I'd absolutely want to be there way early], stuff happens and for whatever reason, he wasn't going to make the one hour or 30 minute cutoff time.

If I was the captain, I would have looked at the traffic reports and if it was smooth sailing, I would have assumed the player was going to make it 15 minutes before start time. If traffic was horrible, that would change my decision.

"Wait," you say. "What if there's an accident after you turn the lineup in?" OK. But you could make the same "worst-case scenario" assumption for all of the players that are there: what if someone twists an ankle? What if someone throws out their back? What if someone gets a call that their wife just had a heart attack? Any # of outlier scenarios could come to pass; there's no guarantee. Given that, assuming the player will make it by game time is reasonable.

If I was the player, I'd be royally pissed [although I'd probably recognize at some point that it was partially my fault for not getting there early].
 

CHtennis

Rookie
While the player isn't blameless [I'd absolutely want to be there way early], stuff happens and for whatever reason, he wasn't going to make the one hour or 30 minute cutoff time.

If I was the captain, I would have looked at the traffic reports and if it was smooth sailing, I would have assumed the player was going to make it 15 minutes before start time. If traffic was horrible, that would change my decision.

"Wait," you say. "What if there's an accident after you turn the lineup in?" OK. But you could make the same "worst-case scenario" assumption for all of the players that are there: what if someone twists an ankle? What if someone throws out their back? What if someone gets a call that their wife just had a heart attack? Any # of outlier scenarios could come to pass; there's no guarantee. Given that, assuming the player will make it by game time is reasonable.

If I was the player, I'd be royally pissed [although I'd probably recognize at some point that it was partially my fault for not getting there early].
I agree with you that I would have likely played him, but all of your other worst case scenarios would allow to substitute for the player unless the match had begun play, except maybe the wife thing, I am not sure about that. Not being there when you are told to puts the captain in a difficult position. The captain does not want to sub you out, but if you are not there, it gets worrisome.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Usually the desk can tell you if they are running on time.

If they’re running on time, you can put the late player on doubles three to maximize his time.

But I normally need to lay eyes on everyone before I’ll write their name down.
 
Being a captain is hard work and thankless job. Understanding about other things going on-totally get that. With mixed doubles you don’t need to 18-20 players when you only have 3 matches/summer league is different but still difficult with vacations. Best way is to get players who want to play/are committed with no distractions. This is why I want only 10 maybe 12 for mixed doubles. Same with summer league otherwise is scheduling nightmare. You can’t have favorites you need to put best player/lineups to win. The saying Usta is supposed to be fun is ********. It’s supposed to be competitive which people don’t understand or have no clue. If it’s fun go play the mixers. I believe you have to treat Usta league matches seriously otherwise why bother playing/being captain.
competition is supposed to be fun dude....
 
Top