Annual CALTA Captains' Meeting


January 9, 2006


    The 2006 annual captains' meeting was held on January 9 in the Grill Room of Omar Auditorium, Patriot's Point, Mount Pleasant.  Refreshments were served at 9:30 and the meeting started at 10:00AM.  Of the 53 CALTA teams, 35 were represented.  


    The meeting was brought to order by CALTA President, Linda von Grotthuss.  She explained that this year's annual captains' meeting was scheduled for January instead of March as in past years in response to comments at last year's meeting about conflicts with USTA 3.0 play.  This was also the first year that our annual meeting was announced by e-mail rather than the usual hard-copy mailing.  The Board feels that this a more efficient and cost-effective way to communicate and will continue to use e-mail for all CALTA business whenever possible.

    Linda explained why we continue to have these annual meetings.   The main reason is to give all CALTA captains and interested members a forum to express their views and ideas, and to present issues that concern them to the Board and the other captains in person.  While there is a great deal of communication via e-mail between the captains and the board throughout the year, the Board realizes that it is not the same as a face-to-face, in-person communication, and the Board depends on our members to keep us informed of any suggestions for improvement.

    Linda explained that the Board currently consists of 13 members and each year there is approximately 50% turnover.  The members of the Board were introduced, along with a brief description of their functions.  She followed with a general outline of the purpose of the CALTA Board -- which is to facilitate the weekly schedule, to make sure it runs smoothly, and to see that as many people as possible can get out and play on Tuesday mornings.  The Board usually meets once a month and is in almost daily contact via e-mail.  If anyone is interested in serving on the Board, she should contact any Board member. 

    It was noted that the job description for coordinators has changed.  They will continue to be responsible for communication between the Board and captains and to report the weekly scores -- but, since we now have a Luncheon Chairman, whose committee is comprised of our three at-large members, the coordinators no longer have responsibility for planning the luncheon.  (Their teams will be asked to send volunteers to help with room set-up on the day of the luncheon.)  Accordingly, the rotation of coordinator duties by alphabetical order within division and the no right-of-refusal system will be relaxed -- and the CALTA Charter will be revised to reflect this. 


    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. 


Policy on Memorials:

    In October 2005, Alice McDonald, a long-time CALTA captain, died suddenly.  This sad event precipitated Board discussion re a policy on memorials.  There were immediate suggestions that CALTA make a donation; however, the Board felt that it should be sensitive to establishing a precedent and that a league donation would not be an appropriate use of member dues.  It was decided instead to announce a special fund in Alice's name to which our members could contribute.  The fund, which now exceeds $400, will be managed by, but maintained separately from, CALTA's Junior Program, and will be a one-time award in 2006.


Web Site:

    The CALTA web site continues to be our primary means of communication.  All captains and team members are encouraged to check it frequently.  The web site is constantly updated, new announcements are posted, and team scores need to be checked for accuracy.  All are encouraged to send comments to the Board e-mail address.  The Board asked that anyone sending an e-mail please make sure that her message has a subject line and that it is clearly a CALTA subject, so that it doesn't get lost in the mass of spam received and deleted daily.

    Also, now that a group e-mail is being used for communication with captains, it was noted that the group e-mail lists are not to be used for business or personal use.  For a tennis-related purpose, a request may be made to the Board.


Division Structure and Scheduling for the 2006-2007 Season:

    Every team that wants to continue to play in the next season will again be asked to complete a "Continuing Team Form".  The form will be posted on the web site early in May and an e-mail notification will be sent to all captains as a reminder.  The form must be submitted by June 1.  The form requests the name of a summer contact for the team and in which division the team would like to be placed.  As in past years, rosters and dues will not be required until just before play starts in August.  It was emphasized that anyone submitting the form should have communicated with her players to ensure that there will be a viable team in the next season. 

    Linda explained that the Board begins the division structuring process on June 1, as soon as all the Continuing Teams Forms and New Member Applications are received.  (For anyone interested, all of the Board's division structure worksheets are available for viewing on-line -- a request to the Board will give access.)  The number of divisions is dependent upon the total number of teams, and the match schedules are dependent on the division structure -- making it very important to have the right team count when the process starts on June 1, as illustrated by our experience this year.  When the Board began the division structuring process for 2005-2006, there were 57 teams signed up -- four more than the previous year.  That meant that the Board could no longer work with four divisions since 14 is the maximum number of teams acceptable per division within our calendar.  Over a 2-week period, the Board then looked at several 5- and 6-division options and selected the one that maximized competition and kept the greatest number of teams at their desired level.  After the division structure (and subsequently the match schedules) were completed, there were then 5 late team drop-outs (which allowed one new team to be added after the deadline) and it made for a very uncomfortable situation.


    Because of the issue of last minute "drop-outs", the Board is considering requiring that the "New Team Application" (also due by June 1 -- earlier, if possible) be accompanied by a nonrefundable dues payment for 8 players.  Anyone aware of a new tennis facility or a potential new team at an existing facility should tell them of the requirements and deadlines.  CALTA tries to accommodate all requests for new teams in the Charleston Area as long as the facility has adequate courts, seating and bathroom facilities.


Member Q:  I'On has 7 courts and we want to start a third team.  Can we do that?

Board A: No.  A facility must have 4 courts available for every 2 teams -- which means 8 courts for 3 (or 4) teams.  That is required for our home/away scheduling.  

Member Q:  We are trying to get another court built at I'On. 

Board A:  If that happens, then you could have another one or two teams.  If a letter from the CALTA Board would help the process, the Board would be happy to write one.


    Linda noted that the Board had recently received an e-mail question about the "criteria" for being moved up or down.  She explained that there are no set criteria applicable to all divisions.  The starting point for each team is to make a request on the Continuing Team Form or the New Team Application.  The Board places each team in the division it requests and then looks at the overall structure to see if it works.  Some adjustments may have to be made since there is a desired maximum of 14 teams per division.  For those teams that are not placed in the division requested, the Board will make every effort to see that the situation is remedied the following year. 


Member Q:  We won Division 3 last year and asked to be moved up to Division 2 this season and were not.  We understand why, but can we request a move to Division 1 for next year?

Board A: Each year is different, so the fact that you weren't placed in Division 2 this year (since it was full) does not mean that you will not be placed there next year.  In fact, because you are one of the teams whose request could not be met because of division structure constraints, yours will be one of the first teams considered for placement in Division 2 next year.  And yes, you may request to be placed in Division 1 as a back-up.


    Concerning the calendar, Linda reminded everyone that our schedule is based on the Charleston Public School calendar and that the Board tries to schedule play only on days that school is in session.  We try to start play at the end of August (probably August 29 this year) and play through the end of April, with as many make-up dates as possible scheduled in. 



Rules Committee Report:


 Nancy Pitcairn, Vice President and Chairman of the Rules Committee, began by taking questions from the floor.


Member Q:  Now that USTA has voted to use a tie-break for a third set, will CALTA follow suit?

Board A:  Actually, LCTA has voted to play out the third set.  A third-set tie-break is NOT an option for local USTA match play.  CALTA will continue to offer the option of a 10-point tie-break in lieu of a third set as long as all four players on the court agree, as stipulated in Rule VIII.

Member Q:   Do we have to decide at the beginning of a match?

Board A:  No.  The decision should be made at the end of the second set.


Nancy noted that it has been brought to the Board's attention that some teams are not using the scheduled make-up days as intended.  She explained that these dates are to be viewed as official play dates, and teams are to use the next available rain date for a make-up.  If both teams agree to schedule the make-up for an alternate date (a Saturday, for example) that is acceptable, but a team cannot refuse to play a make-up on a scheduled make-up date because of other plans.  Also, once the match has been re-scheduled, it cannot be changed except for weather.   And the captains were reminded that it is the responsibility of the home captain to ensure that courts are available on the agreed-upon make-up date; if they are not available, the home team will have to forfeit.


Member Q:  Do we have to use the same line-up?

Board A:  If a match is rained out prior to the first point being played, then the line-up can be changed.  This is applied on a court-by-court basis: those courts that have played one or more points must complete the match with the same players;  courts that have not begun are not required to keep the same players for the make-up.


Nancy then reiterated the need for captains to communicate with each other, especially if the weather is questionable.  If the home captain has not made the appropriate day-before call, the visiting captain should make the call.  Cell phone numbers should be exchanged so that there can be easy communication in the morning if necessary due to weather/travel/other issues.


Another question that had been received by the Board involved visiting teams being asked to go to a different location on the day of the match.  Nancy explained that the visiting team does not have to agree to a change of venue.  (Many players schedule their days based on where they will be playing, many cannot afford to take the extra time to go elsewhere, others play only on certain surfaces, etc.)  The match should be rescheduled. 


Member Q:  Doesn't the home team have to tell the visiting team which courts will be playing on which surfaces the day before the match?

Board A:  No, because clubs with more than one surface often do not know until the morning of the match which courts will be available to them.  However, the home team must tell the visiting team which positions will be playing on which surfaces prior to exchange of line-ups. 


Another weather issue that had been brought to the Board's attention regarded partially wet courts.  Nancy explained that it is the captain's responsibility to determine court playability -- and that means inspecting all parts of all courts to be used.  Some courts dry faster than others, and many stay damp at the back for a long time.  If any player deems a court "unsafe", she is not obligated to play on it.  Depending on the circumstances (e.g., rain on the way to a match or a miscall by the home captain), either a re-schedule or a forfeit will apply. 


Several other minor issues were then covered with group discussion:

- Home teams are responsible only for "light refreshments".  An individual's need for specific sport drinks/food to get her through a match is her own responsibility.

- Warm-ups are not practice.  Once the line-ups have been exchanged at 9:30, warm-ups should commence promptly and not take longer than 10 minutes (Rule VII).  Every effort should be made to begin the match by 9:45.

- It is the captain's responsibility to have her players in the correct position on the correct court against the correct pairing.  The captain should be specific: "Players A and B are playing players C and D in position X on court Y."  This will help to avoid confusion. 

- For our members' information: Daniel Island has a dress code that does not allow T-shirts, sports bras alone or spandex shorts alone.



Junior Scholarship Program: 

    Pamela Doggett, CALTA Secretary and Chairman of the Junior Scholarship Program, gave a brief update of the program's status. 

    Each year the committee sends packets to all schools, both public and private, that have tennis programs, and to all tennis clubs and facilities in the Charleston Area, requesting nominations for our program.  James Beck also publicizes our program in his P&C column, and information and nomination forms are available on the CALTA web site for our members' use. 

    CALTA awards are given based on both merit and need.  Our awards have enabled girls to equip themselves with the basics, to go to camps and clinics, to travel to tournaments, and to enhance their college applications.  Just being recognized by an outside source has been a thrill for many of them. 

    For the four years of the program's existence, CALTA has budgeted $2,000 annually from member dues -- but a total of over $17,000 has been provided in awards.  Thanks to the incredible efforts of our coordinators and board members in organizing very successful raffles at our annual luncheons and the generosity of our members in purchasing a huge number of tickets at these events, the fund has more than doubled from its budgeted level.  At this year's luncheon, back by popular demand, there will again be a merchandise raffle, with unique items and interesting packages.


Luncheon Committee Report:

    Vicky Meister, chairman of the Luncheon Committee, announced that our annual luncheon for all five divisions will be held this year on May 9 and it will again be held at the Omar Auditorium.  The price will remain the same -- $15 for dues-paying members, $20 for subs -- and there will be a cash bar.  Invitations will go out in a hard-copy mailing approximately one month prior to the luncheon. [** see note below] 

    Vicky assured our members that the issues (quality and quantity) with the food at last year's luncheon are being resolved, as well as the confusion with the food set-up.   She announced that there will be a merchandise raffle again this year.  And, since it is difficult for the same people to go to the same sources repeatedly for donations, Vicky asked if our captains knew of talented members who would be willing to contribute their "wares" to the raffle -- and, if so, to please contact her.  All who donate will be listed at the luncheon and are encouraged to provide business cards for distribution.  In response to a query from the floor, Vicky noted that we can supply our nonprofit tax id number to persons contributing, if requested. 



There being no further business on the agenda or from the floor, the meeting was adjourned. 


**note:  After the meeting, the Board decided to send an e-mail message to the captains, proposing that the luncheon invitations this year be sent by e-mail with an attachment that could be forwarded to each player.  This message will be sent by the end of January.