Oh, lordie. My ladies 6.5 combo team (5-3 on the season) played last night. I didn't play. Our opponent is 2-6, with four 2.5 players and nine novice 3.0s. No 3.5s. Should be an easy win, right? A chance to let some of my weaker players get in their allotment of 5 matches, eh? We lost! I sent a 6.5 pair out onto Court One. They got spanked 2-6, 3-6. I sent a "developing" pair onto Court Two, a pair that is committed to playing together and is improving and working on things. They won 6-3, 6-0. I sent my veteran co-captain and a singles specialist onto Court Three. They split sets and then the match timed out with the 10-point tiebreaker at 9-4 for the opponent. So that is a team loss of 1-2 against a team that is so weak I can hardly believe they dared to play 6.5 ladies combo at all. In truth, I'm a little disappointed. Our team splits playing time equally. Last season, I tried to put two good doubles pairs out there for each match with one weaker pair. This didn't work too well because, frankly, we don't have enough good doubles pairs to staff every match that way. We went 4-8 last season. So this year I decided it was time for certain veterans to Step Up Already and stop hiding on Court Three. For matches against the tough teams, I use the best players who are available. For matches against the weak teams, I use the weaker players. And look what happens. Ugh. We always have e-mail discussions after our matches about what happened, so I guess I'll try to be upbeat about this particular whipping. I think I'll go with a theme of, "Hey, you lose sometimes, but so long as you put it all out there and played your best tennis, it's OK." What I really want to say is something else, though. What I really want to say is that each of us needs to ask ourselves whether we are playing the kind of tennis we want to play, and if not, what are we going to do about it. What I really want to do is scold my team for having attendance at team practice that was so spotty that I finally gave up and canceled team practice altogether. What I really want to do is ask when my teammates last took a hopper and practiced their serve for an hour. What I really want to ask is whether they have a practice partner and the last time they got together and worked on things. But I won't. 'Cause people would have their feelings hurt.