There have been many instances of officialdom blunders, over umpiring, following the rule book to the absolute maximum and plain stupidity from people in a position of power. Here's a local story for you, a chapter from 'sleepy hollow' Albany Western Australia.
Now it's no secret that I really do like the Albany Open, a long stone's throw from the beach, a Tennis Club surrounded by peppy trees and an atmosphere unmatched by any other tournament in the region. The Emu Point Tennis Club courts back on to a caravan park opposite the ocean, visitors stop and watch the tennis, it's a nice vibe.
Now I have already discussed the Albany Open of 2015 in another chapter but here's some fine print for you.
The play on Saturday had just been completed, the Mens and Womens doubles titles were done and dusted for another year. It cost me $25 to play, $50 per team, it included lunch and an incentive to at least achieve a runner up finish to get your $25 back plus make $25. My partner and I went one better with a win, that gave us a $75 profit each after entry fee.
After I consumed a couple of beers I received a call from my mixed doubles partner who I in fact played with some seven years earlier in the same tournament. Funny thing was, she hadn't played since ! After several years of overseas traveling, a stint of marathon running and a new love for the game of squash, my mixed doubles partner was ready for another crack at tennis. I had convinced her to play after a phone call.
Now I make no apologies for saying that I do not enjoy mixed doubles but this year I thought, why not, let's see how we go. We don't have too many tournaments in this region for seniors so let's play the whole weekend. My concern was fronting up the next day after 8 matches in the Mens event the day before with a few beers under the belt and two aching, aging legs.
The biggest concern however was my mixed doubles partner's form, she had none, it had left her seven years ago to be exact ! But she was keen to play, all she needed was a light hit. Now with darkness approaching and the courts empty my partner turned up just as the last of the members and competitors had packed up their racket bags.
I did the right thing and asked an 'official' if we could have a quick hit as my partner was severely lacking in that department. This was the answer I received. 'Well Glenn as neither of you are a member of the tennis club you are required to pay court hire'. Yep that was the answer.
So my $25 entry fee for the Mens doubles, my $25 for the mixed, plus my partner's fee for the following day wasn't enough 'court hire' to see us have a quick hit as darkness fell ?!
No folks it wasn't, it was all to be done by the book, the book of 'Tennis Officialdom', the book of 'Tennis Decorum', the book of 'How to scrape every last dollar together for your Tennis Club'. Yes folks this was one of those book titles or was it all of the above ?
So I went to the wallet, grabbed another $10, this was added to what I had already paid, expensive day's tennis indeed. In fact I don't remember the last time I paid $35 to play tennis for a day, maybe a sign of the times ? Inflation ? So the next day I did the sums, as I always do, a runner up performance would get some of the 'court hire' back.
But alas, it wasn't to be. We lost by a whisker, from memory we ended up on 44 games, the runners up who we beat in our second match finished on 44.5 and the winners on 44.85. Such is life but a good fun day, my partner was surprisingly competitive considering her long lay off.
So to the sums on the whole weekend; It cost me $60 to play, two beers at $5 each took it to $70 plus Gatorade for both days, possibly another $20. I won $100 for the Mens Doubles Title on Saturday so I reckon I made $10 for the weekend.
Yes you are right, it's not about the money, that is simply a bonus, it's all about the participation and enjoyment, the chance to be a part of the 2015 Albany Open Tennis Tournament.
Still waiting however for my receipt for the $10 'court hire' from Saturday night. Where did it really go ? To the Club Secretary or did it buy two beers over the bar at the Sportsman's Club that night ? We will never know.
So why aren't I a member of this tennis club or any other local club for that matter ? I think that may have been an old chapter or it could in fact be a new one, long story, another time.........