I am no old timer, but been through the thick of things in USTA League (4.0/4.5 levels) for the past 5 years as a Player & Captain, which in no way makes me a Guru, but more closer to Rufus, the Hawk, an integral member of the Wimbledon Security team for the past 14 years.
Now that we are at the dawning of another USTA League season, thought I would share my 2 cents on a practical toolkit for having fun playing this ‘Team Sport‘.
- Foundational Culture of the Team matters: A lot of players I have found take the approach of a ‘Promiscuous Mercenary’ to team tennis. Nothing wrong with this, has benefits as well since playing regularly with a diverse group helps. But ‘Fun’, hmmm…. it still leaves something missing, the camaraderie and bonding of a team, the hanging out for a beer or a cup of coffee. Rome stayed true to it’s foundational culture of fratricide and violence. The same applies to any team, it usually stays true to its foundational culture. Find a team whose foundational culture is learning, positivity and growth. You will not go wrong and end up having the max fun based on what you put in every season.
- ‘The Dream still Matters’: As they say, the ‘American Dream’ doesn’t work for most people but the dream still matters. Same is true in team tennis, if you may dream, you may as well dream big. Finding a team committed to traversing to the end zone (‘Nationals’ @ the sunny courts of Florida), will bring meaning to the season and channel the fun!
- Winning breeds Fun & more Winning: Ever wondered, why does a team keep on winning ? There are good tennis players everywhere. Constant focus on improvement is the key. Assimilating from your opponents, practicing and competing with a diverse set of players who challenge you is important. A team that recruits well, and is constantly on the lookout for the best and is open to change constantly creates fun automatically.
And lastly, a Captain who watches how the chips fell week after week matters. Having a first hand account of what happens in the written word matters. After all, our story is our biggest asset.
Every team needs a storyteller, who better to do it, than the Captain !
Now, go have Fun !