Like a tennis club committee' is an old saying and one that I've used a lot myself when describing the useless and time-wasting meetings that I've been involved in over the years. The Old Girl reminded me of this recently when I joined a couple of local groups where we have to meet once a month. Fortunately these haven't devolved into time-wasting petty bureaucracy but there's still time.
I play tennis at the local 'club'. This is two tennis courts and an old shed where a casual group meet every Tuesday and Thursday mornings to play tennis of varying quality. I love it because it is fun and casual and caters to players of all skill levels. How it has been operating is as follows:
- Players gather from 8.30 and play goes to 11.30 with a coffee break at 10.
- Both courts are used for double play
- Court One dictates the duration of play. At the end of one game everyone moves around one place - the server goes to the sideline (if there are people waiting - usually one or two people at most) - the other person at the server end takes over the serve - the receiver moves one place to the left - the person who was in that position moves to the next court - the people on Court Two each move along in the same way (server to sideline etc)
- When Court One game ends then Court Two also stops regardless of what the score is.
- This means that Court One games are more 'competitive' and Court Two games more 'casual' and used as a kind of practice.
- The result is a great form of mixing and matching with tennis at a relaxed level with a few games for the better players to get their teeth into.
That was how it was until last week when a few players got together to change the 'rules'.
The new procedure put in place last week and argued about today is:
- Both Court One and Court Two operate separately and both play a full game to completion.
- At the end of each game the players move around but on that court only - they don't move across to the other court.
- If there are people waiting then the server goes to the side-line at the end of the game.
- After a half hour there is a swap of 50% of the players from court to court.
- The result is that both courts take on more 'seriousness'
- There is less mix and matching
- There is less chance for practice
- The result was absolute bloody confusion.
Today, at our coffee break which is usually a bit of a chat and gossip session there was a big discussion on the new rules. Half of the attendees wanted to return to the old system and a vocal few (the better players) wanted to at least give the new system more of a go. We kind of agreed this but it was clear in the grumpiness and petty arguments over line calls in the second half of play that something has been lost by making this change.
I can't make it this Thursday but hope that next Tuesday the 'tennis club committee' will have seen sense and reverted to a system that worked well and created harmony.