SINGLES STICKS NOW REQUIRED AT SUPER-CHAMPS TOURNAMENTS
Sometimes there are decisions that are made in our tennis world that correspond in an eerie sort of way with the federal government. That should be a thought that gets your juices flowing on this Monday morning...
Seems that the Texas Section Junior Council has mandated that all junior tournaments at the super-champ level must have singles sticks for all matches beginning in 2014. While this is an admirable thought and most definitely prepares our young charges for Wimbledon, let's stop and consider the issue a bit more fully.
As a tournament director considers this directive and how to implement it, he/she must first decide if they want the homemade version from Home Depot made out of wood and in their garage on a Saturday afternon. Average cost would be about $1.50 to $2.00 per stick. (Labor not included.) If they wish to get the good and durable metal versions the cheapest price around is about $15 per set.
Since the average tournament has at least 300-400 entries, and large associations like Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin use numerous sites and tons of courts, the cost is going to be prohibitive whichever way you go. In Austin alone they will need 100 sets of sticks and that probably means an expenditure of about $1,500. Even to a prosperous tournament director that is a lot of money!
Since Obamacare and this recent mandate share the same concept of someone else paying for it and using someone else's money, here are some solutions:
Have the junior tennis council allocate enough money in their budget to pay for all the singles sticks throughout Texas. Each tournament director would be able to submit the number of sticks they would need and then receive a check by January 1, 2014. They would also need an additional 25% to cover lost and broken sticks since they will be used at sites all over the state and probably never returned. Only tennis/country clubs can adequately oversee a bunch of singles sticks.
Require each junior singles player purchase a set of high quality metal singles sticks and bring them to their matches. If both players failed to bring their sticks then they both would be defaulted and the tournament would keep their entry fees. This would make for fewer matches and tournaments that finish more quickly. Of course the junior council would need to allocate some budget money to pay for counseling for the irate parents of said children.
Require the tennis officials to pick up the sticks for their locations and then have them return the sticks at the end of the day. The official would also have to leave a $100 deposit when they picked up their sticks for the day. The official would be responsible for paying for any broken or lost sticks and that amount would be deducted from their pay or their cash deposit.
Designate a specific person for each tournament to be in charge of singles sticks. Give them a $500 cash allowance to purchase new sticks to replace the broken and bent ones and the lost ones. They will be permitted to keep any monies they do not spend but must be sure that the tournament has singles sticks that are in good condition. Give them full authority to default any player who does damage to their sticks or to code any parent who bends or breaks a stick in a fit of anger. They would also be responsible for returning all the sticks to the tournament director's office at the end of the tournament. Their title would be: "Most Honored Singles Stick Person"
Chunk the whole mandate and give it a little more thought before making it a mandate. There are a whole lot of gaps that need to be filled in before something like this is required.
SPECIAL NOTE: Please remember that these solutions are made in jest so don't get all bent out of shape. It is, however, time to give a little more seasoned thought to this issue so the tournament directors are protected financially.