Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rise and Fall of the 4.5 Houston Empire - Gladiator Style


It’s just outside Huffines tennis center at 8:00 on Friday morning.  Freeman stands with his inner circle surveying the soon to be bloodied battlefield, keeping a wary eye on the massing horde from Corpus Christi.  In the distance a headless rider approaches.  Seeing the slain envoy from the Houston ranks, one of Freeman’s cadre is dismayed.  “People should know when they are conquered.”  Freeman stares into the distance, “Would you, Waters?  Would you?”  There is nothing to do now but begin the onslaught as Freeman rallies his legions.  “At my signal, unleash hell!”

And so it begins.  These battles have raged for generations.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Neither will it be destroyed so quickly.  Indeed, progress has been made on different fronts, but the Houston Empire remains intact.  The warring Dallas tribes have yet to unite to defeat the Empire, but they will now be attacking from three different flights at once. 

To the north the forces of Dallas, Wild Dallas and Dallas West have made camp in three different facilities.  Pickett addresses his troops, “An hour from now I will be drinking my beer.  Imagine where you will be, and it will be so.  Hold the net!  Stay with me!  If you find yourself alone, playing on red clay with the sun on your face, do not be troubled.  For you are at Roland Garros and you are already dead!”

Rossouw makes his final preparations as well.  Studying his endless roster he asks a trusted advisor, “Can any of them play?”  The advisor surveys the roster as well, “some are good for playing, others for dying.  You need both I think.”  Reiman relaxes with his troops in the comforting shade of SpringPark.  Soon he too will be engulfed in the melee.  For now, he scans his roster, adjusting his battle plan for those who are now encamped elsewhere.  Much is yet to be decided.  The hill tribes from Austin, the river people of San Antonio, and the desert nomads of West Texas all have significant roles to play in the battle to come. 

Rusty Aurelius stands atop a hill reflecting on the battles of his youth and anticipating the struggle below.  “I like Pickett’s chances,” he says to no one.  For in Pickett, he saw something of himself.  “Fear and wonder, a powerful combination.  I think he knows what USTA sectionals is.  It is the mob.  Conjure magic for them and they’ll be distracted.  Take away their chance to play on Sunday and they’ll still roar.  The beating heart of sectionals is not the glow of the champion’s plate, it’s the sand of the coliseum.  He’ll bring them death – and they will love him for it.”  “Besides,” he mused, “You know I’m not picking Houston.”

Are you not entertained?

39 comments:

  1. Now that's how you settle sectionals!

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  2. Can't bring myself to root for West Dallas. Pickett should be able to bring the players back to Dallas. I've heard his DTA disdain is so great is the reason he is going to West Dallas to play. If that is the reason, I can certainly understand it.

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    1. Pickett will have his hands full with Austin on Friday afternoon. They have some young horses to ride. Both will have played at 10am as well so Pickett will need to counter their youth with his miles deep roster. Or possibly his gladius.

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  3. So you're saying if Austin doesn't bend us over Houston will? This is the year Dallas (not Fort Worth) returns to prominence.

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    1. Let's hope so. Last year wasn't pretty.

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    2. Yeah, my derrière still hurts after last year. And no, he that cannot be named would not have saved us. I am still surprised Freeman's bullies got beat off the bat at nationals.

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  4. That must be some good weed you smoked. Know where I can get some?

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  5. The true question is Houston or NOHO better this year?

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  6. I'm a little surprised no talk at all. Sectionals is a week away and total silence. We had more trash talk for QT. Does this mean that the QTers are the real fun in this league? It looks like it.

    I think Pickett is the favorite to win sectionals. I don't think he has the singles to win nats but he is not short of depth. I think Reiman, Pickett and Rossouw all could make some noise.

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    1. Pretty good chance all three teams make it to the semis. Depend in captaining.

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    2. The reason there is no talk is because the people that are always talking trash on here are not playing in sectionals, which is a good thing.

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    3. Great point. Looking back, most of the biggest complainers and trash talkers were eliminated at QT and cities.

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  7. They are still licking their wounds from being brought back to reality in cities and QT of what they really are. Average players on average teams.

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  8. At a recent WTT event, Taylor Townsend decided to invoke the Mike Kelly school of mixed doubles. Her partner went down with an injury so she played doubles by herself.
    http://usat.ly/1nmUrbQ

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    1. She needs the exercise.

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  9. Less than a week til sectionals and no 4.0 thread? This is really starting to tick me off.

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    1. The analysis is easy. Dallas isn't very good this year. Neither gets out of their flight. If one sneaks outs, Houston crushes Dallas and Wild Houston crushes Wild Dallas.

      Houston advances to nationals again and the lesser Dallas teams complain that the better Dallas teams are cheaters.

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  10. It's ok, Mr. Tick. I've got your back. Or shell in your case. With one team in each flight, our area has a shot at all four teams in the semis. A long shot, but a shot nonetheless.

    Flight 1: The marquis matchup is the first round rematch between last year's champion Houston, and last year's runner-up Waco. Waco has seven new self-rates in addition to a few of last year's players. Not to be outdone, Houston has nine self-rates/appealed players. One has already been dq'd, so that leaves 8, including a former top 50 D-1 player. Look for some close matches, but edge to Houston. Wild FW and Valley both were contenders last year, but both lost their stud players, and didn''t replace them with equal star power. Good teams but not great. NETX is the only pushover in this flight. Same guys as last year, when they finished 0-4.

    Flight 2: Au contraire, 10:45! This is our only cakewalk. NOHO and San Angelo both have largely the same guys as last year, when they finished 4th and 5th respectively in Bazan's flight. Wild San Antonio wasn't expecting the bid, and some made other plans for the weekend, and aren't coming. Not a strong team to start with, but weaker now. Amarillo didn't even field a team last year, but this team is pretty decent. (Keith, that means put your strongest lineup in this match. Take some chances in the other ones.)

    Flight 3: Sorry Bob. By not winning cities, you got stuck in the flight of death. Vinny is a great singles player, but San Antonio and Corpus each have two. One of Corpus' is a current super champ! SETX is usually a doormat, but this year looks like a pretty good team. Won the league even though 2 of their players got dq'd. That probably means their captain got several ringers, but only 2 got caught. Wichita Falls is the only weakling in this group. Barely qualified for the tournament, and mainly older guys. Edge to SA IMHO.

    Flight 4: Wild Houston should take this one. The only team to beat Freeman this year, but also lost to them, both in close matches. Deliberately tanked the city finals to get some of Freeman's guys dq'd and get in the easier flight. It worked on both counts. These guys are dirty. Austin is a pretty decent team, especially with tanker movedown Andy Merritt. Third at best for The Old Gang from Ft. Worth. Midland and Lubbock didn't bring teams last year, and this year they will battle it out for cellar dweller.

    You're welcome.

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    1. Amarillo has a current super as well

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    2. Nice review, want to be a regular contributor?

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    3. Murray, I'm not knowledgeable about anything other than 4.0 league to contribute much. Maybe a once-a-year sectionals preview.

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  11. so why has TTA not DQ'ed these Super Champ brats from 4.0 tennis, what a joke

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    1. You need to understand how the rules work. Superchamp does not necessarily equal 4.5, even if they are 18. There's a little more to it than that. And don't ask me to explain it because I'm not going to. Do some homework or file a grievance.

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    2. Like 10:16 said... There is more to it than that. They are legitimate and I am sure grievances were filed but Todd Reed backed them up.

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    3. Jason, the reason that Benjamin Gutierrez and Luis De La Cruz are still in 4.0 is that they made valid 4.0 self-ratings when they were Champs players. Both supered up after playing leagues, and it is the policy of USTA Texas to allow players in this situation to continue playing until league season is over. Probably not a good policy but as long as it is consistently applied, I can live with it.

      But if those cases "hack you off", the next one is gonna drive you crazy. I call it "The Curious Case of Austin Todd". Austin joined the Dallas League in 2012, when he was a Champs player, and self-rated 3.5! He played only twice, losing both matches badly with his partner - team captain Keith Clark. The weekend after the second match, he won the Amarillo Champ Major Zone, beating most of the guys as badly as he lost in 3.5 league. What a remarkable improvement in only one week! Then at Sectionals, he only played once, because he had a conflict that weekend - a Super Champ Major Zone, where he made the semis! However, at the end of 2012 he got benchmark 3.5 rating, which he still has today! But wait, there's more! Now, he is also a D-III college player at McMurry State in Abilene! So next weekend, he will play 4.0 Sectionals for - you guessed it, Keith Clark! I guess the other super champs and college players will give him a little competition.

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    4. Let me get this straight, you really think a DIII player will give a former D1 top 50 players competition?

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    5. Temple also had a champ player who started league, then moved up to super champ, but kept playing 4.0 Unfortunately for him and us, he decided to play for the last-place team instead of us. There should also be a rule that champ players have to start at 4.0, like the super champs have to start at 4.5 in my opinion.

      Bill Sanders

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    6. Thanks 8:14. Think the rules should be similar to if a player starts a league and then commits to a college, they SHOULD self report and take the bump to new level, no reason a SC or player anywhere close to SC level should be playing lower than 4.5. Hell I was a low ranked Champed player when I started playing league and did fine at 4.5

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  12. So Houston has no decided to take over the Dallas blog? What the hell, don't you guys have your own blog?

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  13. Hey guys i have 3 HEAD youteks Djokovik raquets ill sell for $300, all in great condition

    Andre

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  14. Don't know any of these people but maybe what they should do I'd rate in at 5.0 and then tank down to 4.0. That's ok, right?

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    1. Worked well for Hunter Emmott. Oops, I think he self rated at 5.5.

      The real culprit is Mike Kelly. He is a 5.5 and plays 4.5.

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    2. Why didn't Kelly play on a legitimate team?

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  15. People would rather win without him and his mouth?

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  16. He is just trying to legitimize his illegitimate 4.5 rating. Besides it is his attitude as much as his mouth.

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  17. If you idiots think Ben Guiterrez should be in a different division, you are correct. He should be a 3.5.

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    1. Why the hell do you care what a crappy little dallas blog thinks? Go back to Amarillo

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  18. Great write up. Hilarious and spot on. All I know is that its supposed to be a high of 85 on Friday!

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  19. The Dallas ... I mean FTW team just lost lowly SE Texas, guess if Phy would have actually tried during the season he would have been ready for the tough matches

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