Annual CALTA Captains' Meeting
March 15, 2004
The 2004 annual captains' meeting was held on March 15 at 9:30AM in the auditorium of the Charleston County Library on Calhoun Street. Of the 49 CALTA teams, 35 were represented.
The meeting was brought to order by CALTA President, Linda von Grotthuss, who made a brief opening statement that included an introduction of the Board members and a summary of the functions of the Board. Thanks were given to outgoing Director At-large, Delta Amrhein, whose 3-year term ends in May 2004, and to Christine Faenza, the current Division 3 Coordinator, who will be the new Director At-large. As there were no objections from the floor, the reading of last year's minutes and review of the CALTA financial statement were dispensed with. Both had been on the CALTA web site for the past year.
The CALTA web site format and content were reviewed, with emphasis again on encouraging member usage.
Member Q: Can individual match scores be posted?
Board A: It's possible but would be very time-consuming and does not reflect the underlying philosophy of CALTA, whose emphasis has always been more on fun than on scores.
Board Q: Therefore, do we really want to do this?
Member vote: a unanimous "NO"
Board comment: Anyone may query her Coordinator for the specifics of any match results.
Member Q: How often are the scores, changes, additions, etc. posted to the web site?
Board A: On a daily basis when webmaster is in town. A note is posted on the web site when there will be a delay in postings.
Board Comment: The Board is currently looking for someone who is both tennis- and computer-literate to act as a back-up webmaster whenever necessary. This would assure no delays in postings.
Scheduling and Division Structure:
Linda presented a review of the process the Board goes through each year in order to establish the division structure and match schedule. Members were reminded that, at past captains' meetings, a season of 25-27 matches has been repeatedly voted on as the desired length by a significant majority of the teams represented -- so this is the starting point for the Board's division/schedule development. It was pointed out that this has been an unusually bad weather year, but the consensus is that we should schedule for the average year and then deal with the unusual as best we can -- and make-up rescheduling should be somewhat easier than in past years since players can now be added to the rosters at any time during the season, there are no deadlines for make-up matches and the four courts can be rescheduled separately.
Member Q: Could we not have any matches scheduled in January?
Board A: This is not really feasible. The calendar days available are finite since they are determined by the Charleston Public School calendar -- skipping January would overload the rest of the schedule. Also, not every January is as bad as the one we experienced this year!
Member Q: Can we play further into May?
Board A: We have to schedule our annual luncheon before the last day of school and we need to reserve the Tuesday prior to the luncheon for a make-up day -- so this will be a function of the school calendar. The Board will look at this for next season.
Member Q: Can we start earlier in August?
Board A: Even though the school calendar starts quite early in August, there has been resistance in the past (captains' meeting votes) to playing at all in August since many of our members are still on vacation then. It is something the Board studies every year. If the Board deems that the optimal schedule (adequate rain dates, appropriate holidays, etc.) requires starting earlier in August next season, then this would be a viable option.
Member Q: What about the private schools whose holiday schedules do not coincide with the public schools?
Board A: CALTA (City League in the past) was established using the public school calendar as its basis. The Board has looked at this issue and determined that it is not possible to accommodate the many different school schedules in the area. For those dates where they have a conflict, members are asked to plan for child care or substitutes.
Member Q: What happens if the two captains cannot decide on a mutually acceptable date for a make-up match?
Board A: The Division Coordinator would be asked to help set a date. (This has not yet been an issue.)
Member Q: Could we have a Fall season winner and a Spring season winner?
Board A: CALTA has only one official season (from end of August through May) and each division has its own schedule -- which may consist of two, three or even four rounds. It would be a coincidence if a 2- or 4-round schedule would end its first or second round at the holiday break -- and a 3-round schedule will never end a round then. (And we can't have 2 luncheons!)
Member Comment: When possible, larger divisions (which play only two rounds) are more fun -- simply because of more variety in the teams we play.
Member Comment: Some of us play only in CALTA and do not want the season to be shortened at all!
The possibility of a 5-division structure next season was discussed. It is expected that there will be some new teams in CALTA next season. That, combined with the several requests that the Board has already received from teams wanting to move up or down, makes it possible that the optimum structure next season would be five divisions. It was explained that the Board studies this possibility every year and this, in fact, was the structure for the 2001-2002 season. If there are five divisions next season, it may look as if a team has been "demoted" -- but that will not be the case. Each team will be playing with most of the same teams it is currently playing with. [A schedule showing a 5-division structure based on current standings was made available to the captains for viewing at the end of the meeting.]
The Board's first priority in setting the division structure is to put each team at the level where it wants to play. However, since we try to avoid having 11 or 12 teams in a division (that doesn't work well with our calendar --as discussed at this meeting and in prior captains' meetings), we cannot always accommodate a team's request to be in a specific division. That happened with one team this year. The Board thanked their captain, Mikie Frampton, for their graciously agreeing to play in Division 1 this season -- and wishes them the best in Division 2 next year!
The captains were reminded that June 1 is again the deadline for any new team that wants to join CALTA and asked the captains to spread the word. There are many new communities in the Charleston area with tennis facilities. Any team that applies prior to June 1 is guaranteed to be included if they have four courts, courtside seating and bathroom facilities. June 1 is also the deadline for our current teams to request a move to another division.
Nancy Pitcairn, Vice President and Chairman of the Rules Committee, reviewed the rules changes that were put into effect this year. In addition to the dues increase to $20, the only major change was that players may be added to the roster at any time. Since that has worked smoothly, the change will continue as permanent.
Two additions to existing rules were then presented.
1) To add an 8:45AM deadline to determine playability of courts.
If the courts are not dry/thawed AT 8:45AM (to be confirmed in person by either staff on site or a member of the host team), the match is to be rescheduled unless both captains agree to wait longer. When the weather conditions are such that the courts may not be playable by 8:45, the home captain will call the visiting captain (still no later than 7:30 -- Rule IV) so that no one starts to travel prematurely. The home team has until 8:45 to determine playability and communicate with the visiting captain. (It is felt that an 8:45 departure allows enough travel time between any two teams in CALTA to allow for a 10:00 start time -- the final time as specified in Rule VI.)
2) To allow a minimal (5-minute) warm-up for a late arrival.
There being no dissent to these two additions, they will be incorporated into the CALTA 2004-2005 Rules document.
Member Q: When a position is forfeited, must it always be the fourth position?
Board A: Yes -- but do not confuse this with a default (see definitions in Rule V).
Junior Scholarship Program:
Pamela Doggett, CALTA Secretary and Chairman of the Junior Scholarship Program, reviewed the history of the program. The CALTA Charter, which was adopted at the 2001 captains' meeting, includes as part of the CALTA mission "to identify junior women's tennis needs in the Charleston area and to apply CALTA's available resources in support of them." Each year the Scholarship Committee writes to all local schools (both public and private) that have tennis programs and to all tennis centers in the area, requesting nominations for our program. The program is also announced annually in James Beck's column in the P&C and forms are available on our web site for our members' use. The requirements are straightforward: the nominee must be a junior girl currently living in the Charleston area who shows promise in playing for her school or club.
The program started modestly. In its first year, the Board earmarked $2,000 from dues revenue to give five grants ranging from $300 to $500. In its second year, the same amount was budgeted from dues revenue and a raffle at the year-end luncheon added $2,500 to the program -- enabling nine girls to receive grants. This year, in conjunction with the Family Circle Tennis Center, we are hosting a CALTA Clinic & Play Day in June (available to our members only) to raise funds for the program. The event will include breakfast, clinics, lunch and round-robin play. Details will be sent to all captains and announced in the web site.
Member Q: Why not have another raffle at the luncheon?
Board A: We may have one in the future, but it is very difficult to get both the quantity and quality of items donated every year -- so we opted to do something different this season.
Vicky Meister, this year's Division 1 Coordinator, presented our plans for our luncheon on May 11. Due to the huge success of last year's event, this year's luncheon will again be one affair for all four divisions and will be held at the same location. Invitations for all members will be mailed to captains by the end of March and captains were urged to encourage everyone to come. There will be spectacular decorations, gifts for all attendees, door prizes for each division, a 50/50 raffle to benefit the scholarship program, a sign-up table for the CALTA Clinic & Play Day -- and, of course, awards presented to the winning teams!
There being no further business on the agenda or from the floor, the meeting was adjourned at 11:00AM.