Sunday, May 23, 2010

Working the system

I have been thinking about this whole tanking thing alot lately in particular after witnessing the Branch beat downs of TBar, Canyon Creek and Brookhaven in flight A and then seeing our 9.0 mixed team get destroyed last weekend.

This weekend's match results for Branch vs Collin County though perfectly emphasize the problem with the system. Collin COunty have struggled to be competitive all season and Branch have rolled over the stronger teams 5-0 regularly but somehow Branch lost 2 lines against CC?

Obviously I am not good enough to be in the predicament they are in or even good enough to lose on purpose (that's when my frame shots will probably start going in). Every time I walk on the court I want to win. Generally it's hard work but that is my objective. I can't go out there and try to lose. In addition, my objective is to continually improve and become the best player that I can be. I doubt I will ever be good enough to be bumped up to 5.0 but that is my ultimate goal. I suspect that this is really the thought process of most players including those on the Branch team.

Why am I saying this? Because I don't understand why so many good players that played College tennis etc want to keep playing beneath themselves at 4.5 when they are obviously good enough to compete at 5.0 & some probably 5.5?

I theorize that there may be principle 2 reasons:
1. some people just want to win and think it's fun to beat up/ bully weaker players, but more likely,
2. there is a contradiction between the usta ratings initiatives in relation to the league play available. I think that this holds true for more players. I know some of the Branch players and they are nice guys. They are exceptionally good tennis players and are good enough to “work the system” because of the inherent flaws.

Until the dta and usta correct playing opportunities for stronger players, folks will continue to manipulate the system by managing their results. The usta have improved the self-rate process (well for those than answer the questions honestly) and they have recently bumped up a lot of players in the 2.5 to 4.5 range.

However, there are such limited playing opportunities for 5.0 and 5.5 players that they are basically encouraged by the usta to “tank” so they can have playing opportunities.

So what is the solution? I think Houston has some combo leagues allowing 5.0 and 5.5 players to play with 4.5s. I’m not sure about the mechanics or rules but perhaps this is an option.

The large majority of college tennis players do not go pro. Yet they are now required to self-rate at 5.5 if they had any kind of ranking. So in order to get to 5.0 they have to play tournaments and lose. Many couldn’t be bothered so they just don’t play. The usta and dta are losing out on the best tennis players participating in their leagues and tournaments and therefore losing revenue and robbing weaker players of the enjoyment of playing with and against and learning from these better players incompetitive match situations.

It would be nice if the DTA as the representative for a leading metropolitan area in the country took the lead and started initiating some leagues or ways to get the better players playing.

It is no fun getting your ass kicked in a competitive match and it surely can’t be fun for the branch players to be inflicting beat downs for 9 matches just so that they can eventually play a handful of difficult ones.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

4.0 Week 6

So someone summarized this week pretty well in the comments from the last post so I will re-summarize as best as I can.

Flight A:
Interesting matches here althought nothing groundbreaking as OC takes on Greenhill. Greenhill could put an end to OC's playoff streak with this match. Brookhaven Bartlett gets to take on the mighty Somabut team this Sunday as well. This would be interesting without the automatic bid for BH.

Flight B:
Not too much to get excited about here as teams are still shifting around in this flight, our match v. Garland is the one with the most impact, I expect a good match from this group.

Flight C:
Still seems as if Garland and Gleneagles are just hanging out for the time being until July, but their opponents this week do have a pulse so they will need to at least bring out their B+ games.

Flight D:
Stonebriar v. Greenhill. This match will go far to show how the top three in this flight will finish. I think Stonebriar has a chance but I have to think Greenhill will prevail.

Flight E:
Upset minded Canyon Creek takes on JCC and can take command of this flight with a win (didn't think I would be saying that this season).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

4.5 Halfway

It’s been a few weeks since we have had a 4.5 thread so here is a quick note to hopefully encourage Racer X to give us a revised top 10 (well the 9 after Branch):

Fight B

I continue to be surprised by HP/ Nguyen’s poor results. What is going on with Adam Blumberg? From a solid 5.0 record a few seasons ago he can’t get a win now at 4.5. He’s a very very good player so I wonder if he’s carrying an injury….

Las Colinas on the other hand pulled off an impressive win over Lakes and with Brookhaven are now in command of the play-off spots in this flight. Brookhaven have yet to be tested but the second half of there schedule is where the serious teams are. Maybe High Pt will show up this week or continue to sandbag?

Garland/ Sisk play Las Colinas and could cause some chaos in the standings if they continue to build on their recent success. O’bannon at singles may be a lock….

I’m picking Brookhaven and Las Colinas to make it to the play-offs based on the first half results.

Flight C
A big win for Lifetime over Greenhill this past week makes the fight for the QT berth very interesting in this flight now and could well come down to their match on 6/12 vs Royal Oaks. I expect they will take out an erratic Juhn team in their next match. I don’t expect any hiccups from Garland/ Noel from here on in. Their toughest matches are behind them. Only Greenhill may cause them some concern in the last week.

Greenhill however need to win out to get into the playoffs and that means beating Juhn, Royal Oaks & Garland – a tall order!

Based on the first 5 weeks of action I’m taking Garland/ Noel and Lifetime (yes, they will pull another upset over Royal Oaks) for the QT

Flight A


Racer X?

Monday, May 17, 2010

3.5 Mid-Season Update

You are not seeing weekly posts at 3.5 as there seems to be little interest (20 posts in the past 4 weeks), there is little excitement, and the blog appears to be dominated by interest at the 4.0 level.

As the season crosses the half-way point, precedence is forming for the top 2 spots in each flight, with the 2 leaders in each flight currently standing undefeated. This weekend should add clarity in two of the flights as to who most likely will be going to City, and who will be headed to the QT. ( I told you this is unexciting if I can already claim who those teams are half-way into the season!)

Flight A - GG leads the way. No, that's not for Gordon Gecko, it's for Garland and Greenhill. These teams battle it out this weekend and the winner should take 1st in the flight, with the loser securing a spot at the QT. JCC could be a spoiler should they keep their record unblemished from here and beat Garland the last week. But that is a tall order and I just don't see it happening.

Flight B - High Point - Vincent (aka Bender "B" team) and the Village are neck and neck with HP edging out with a 1 line win. They also battle it out against each other this weekend and as in flight A, the winner will go to City with the loser heading to QT. Epic Fail here is Brookhaven Alzuro with a 1-3 record. I thought they would have done much better than they have. Goes to show you can't tell anything at the 3.0 level these days....excuse me...the 3.5 level (Freudian slip).

Flight C - High Point -Bender has only dropped 1 line, and that is from the old man himself. Bent Tree has 2nd place but has had a few close matches giving them what I would call "non-convincing" wins given the teams they were against. They are also closely followed by the Lakes and Oak Creek with only one loss each. This flight could get real interesting for 2nd place as Bent Tree still has OC and HP to play. Either of those teams could be a spoiler. The OC plays HP this weekend, and if handed a loss, gives them 2 strikes. The Lakes only have one more tough match agains HP in 2 weeks. If they lose, this would be loss #2 for them, and depending upon the results of the Oak Creek v. Bent Tree match, could end up in a 3-way tie for 2nd place with it coming down to lines lost.

So there you have it. Four weeks of drama with 3 weeks to go all summarized in a few paragraphs. This weekend will reveal alot and Flight C appears to have the most excitement.

Comment if you like. If not, I guess I will see you in a month......

Sunday, May 9, 2010

4.0 Week 5

4.0 Week #5

I haven't posted in so long the blog made me log back in. Strange...much like this season as I have commented before I feel like 4.0 is even more new than I thought once the massive ratings change occured in December. I know many of the same names will still linger at the top but I think there will be many new names and faces playing this summer.

But onto Week 5 and hopefully we don't get rained out again since many haven't finished their week 3 match (like my team).

Flight A
High Point should continue to roll and play some "close" matches. Just kidding Bob. :) CC v. Huffhines, sorry can't come up with anything for that match, wake me when it is over. I do think there are two good matches here as Dallas CC takes on undefeated Greenhill, Mr. Arnette has benenfited from not losing any players to 4.5 but DCC is a good team and I fear if they can get out their best players that Greenhill may just fall from the top of the standings. OC v. Brookhaven should also be interesting although not sure how much BH cares about winning, for them they finally get a chance to play all 20 players on the roster which in the end may help them as in years past they have been shorthanded in the playoffs. I like OC to take this one close.

Flight B
Hmm. Not much to talk about here, I like LTF, HP and Garland to get wins in lopsided fashion but the one interesting match will be Brookhaven/Pearlman v. TBar. These two teams are hanging out at the top but after this match one of them will be on the thin ice in a very tough flight. Obviously there will be a team in here with 2 losses that will advance to the QT but I would rather get that 2nd loss in the final week of the season than this week. I am going to go with Team Burt on this one but it will be close.

Flight C
ZZZZZZZZZZZ. I tried to find something here worth mentioning but I just don't see it. Seems like 1st and 2nd is almost already decided in this flight.

Flight D
Uhhh. yet again I am trying to figure out something interesting to say here. Lakes, Stonebriar, Stonebridge and Greenhill should win this week. I have to say I am shocked at the 0-4 start of Stonebridge, I really expected them to do well this season but hopefully they can get on the board with a win this week. I am curious about the comment that had HP beating Stonebriar, that would be very interesting and probably make Greenhill very happy.

Flight E
This flight will most likely get decided this week as the Village plays Canyon Creek the only slight contender that could change the most likely top two finishes of Village and JCC. The rest of the matches here seem rather inconsequential.

No wonder I haven't written anything lately, seems like the season was over before it began and how did I end up in the only flight that seems to be have more than 2 contenders, oh well at least it should be interesting.

Good luck to you all this weekend!