On May 14, 2014, the Texas Section issued a press release announcing the retirement of Ken McAllister as Executive Director after 24 years of service.
The announcement struck me a bit unusual, as I just learned this today doing a Google search. This was after reading, what I thought, was an unusual interesting column of his titled “Kenny Mc’s Corner” which you can find on page 34 of the June 2014 issue of Inside Tennis.
Typically, the magazine makes its way from my mailbox to a stack of other magazines that tend to migrate their way to the head. I tend to flip through them quickly and thoughtlessly, perusing the magazine to see if there are any hot pics of Ivanovic, Kirilenko, or Sharapova that might strike my attention. I also like reading some of the submissions for “court of Appeals” which clarifies some of the quirky rules you might come across in match play. In the Texas Section, you will see highlights of local league winners, and on the last pages, columns from the Section Directors.
For June, Kenny’s column was titled, “What I Have Learned”. In this month’s column, he discusses the competitive nature of recreational tennis and quotes “…..recreational tennis ends when you start keeping score. While 99 percent of all our tennis play has a high sportsmanship quality about it, the other 1 percent can be downright explosive.’
He later states, “Finally and in our special case called NTRP, winning takes precedence over fairness when players deliberately lose to keep ratings down. Sadly this 1 percent takes up about 25 percent of staff and volunteer time through appeals, discipline and grievance, and rule changes. As it should be, it is our responsibility to minimize the negatives to keep tennis fair and fun for the other 99 percent.”
After being away from the blog a few months, I still see the same recurring chatter – the ongoing discussions and accusations of who’s tanking and who sucks. We saw the rise, fall and resurrection of the unmentionable (personally I am tired of seeing his name). We have seen recent rule changes, complaints, grievances, appeals, and everything in-between. There have been an unusual amount of DQs recently. Some explainable and some un-explainable. Then I read Kenny’s column, thinking we really have gotten on his nerve, to learning this is probably his last column, and feels compelled out of all of his insights from 24 years of serving Texas Tennis, to go out talking about this.
It isn’t like Kenny is a stranger to success. He is an accomplished player himself, who has held 35 Texas rankings, and won the 1988 PTR National 45 Singles Championship, named Texas pro of the year twice and the USPTA National Pro of the Year back in 1981.
So this leaves me asking, why does he go out of his way to make a point to discuss NTRP ratings and tanking as his last words of wisdoms gleaned from 24 years of service? Have things in Texas really gotten that out of control?
It’s not like Texas comes home with a National trophy across NTRP levels each and every year like some Sections do (i.e. Caribbean). Is this more of a National problem than it is a Sectional problem?
I also found his comments interesting –given a few years back, he seemed to have defended a captain who allegedly was able to appeal 8 players on his roster who were bumped up and received Benchmark ratings, when the rest of the whole metro-plex was unable to access Tennis-Link at all because the system was bogged down. While I didn’t have direct communication with Ken, I do recall seeing emails that were forwarded to me where he completely discounted the whole altercation on a computer malfunction. Not someone who seemed to be concerned about fairness at all.
Anyhow, thought it would be an interesting topic to debate or comment on since things have been slow this summer with the rest of league play. Regardless, we wish Ken the best on his retirement. The bigger questions now is who will replace him? Will things be better off or worse? ... Sorry Marc – you already accepted the Dallas ED position. Wish you would have waited now?
PS - A special thanks to Murray Langston who has picked up the slack and kept the blog alive the past few months.