Annual CALTA Meeting


January 11, 2010


The 2010 annual meeting was held on January 11 in the Grill Room of Omar Auditorium, Patriot's Point, Mount Pleasant.  Refreshments were served at 9:30AM and the meeting started at 10:00AM.  Sign-in sheets established that, of the 57 CALTA teams, 40 were represented.  


Hand-outs:  Agenda; USTA/CALTA Rules Comparison Sheet; Coman Tiebreak Procedure


INTRODUCTION - Linda von Grotthuss, President

The primary reason for this annual meeting is to give all CALTA members a forum to express their opinions and for the Board to answer any questions CALTA members may have.  


As stated in previous years, Linda explained that the main goal of the CALTA Board is to make sure that the weekly schedule runs smoothly.  As of the date of the meeting, there were 760 dues-paying members and over 100 subs listed in the CALTA web site.  With 57 teams, there are 28 matches scheduled on every Tuesday morning during the season -- which means there are 448 ladies scheduled to play.  The Board's primary function is to provide and maintain a structure that allows for this all to run smoothly.  

The full Board meets usually once a month and keeps in constant contact by e-mail to discuss any issues that come up.


There are currently 12 positions on the CALTA Board. 


The Executive Board is comprised of the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, who are elected for a two-year term.  The current President, Webmaster and Scheduler is Linda von Grotthuss; the Vice President and Chairman of the Rules Committee is Nancy Pitcairn, who also backs up Linda on the web site and enters the weekly scores; the Secretary and Chairman of the Junior Recognition Program is Pamela Doggett; the Treasurer is Lynn McNally.  The Executive Board is elected for a two-year term.  CALTA was formed in 2001 when it was realized that its predecessor, City League, was in need of better organization and continuity of leadership.  The Executive Board believes strongly that the smooth functioning of our organization depends on continuity of leadership and that is why, as a group, the Executive Board is serving its fifth two-year term. 


In addition to the Executive Board, there are three At-large Directors who serve staggered 3-year terms.  Hutchie Cummin, who plays out of Seabrook, is serving her third year as an At-large Director; Donna Shoaf, from Family Circle, is serving her second year; Carole Davie, from Kiawah, is serving her first year.  All three previously served as Coordinators; in fact, in recent years our new At-large Directors have been former Division Coordinators as usually at least one of the Coordinators expresses a desire to remain on the Board in another capacity.  At-large Directors are appointed by the Executive Board and are full voting members of the Board.


CALTA currently is comprised of five divisions and each division has a Coordinator.

The Division Coordinators assist in communication between the Board and the Captains and they organize the reporting of the weekly scores for the web site.  They are full voting members of the Board and are involved in all the Board's decision-making throughout the year.  They also help with plans for the annual luncheon. The Coordinators this season are:

Div. 1 - Ashley Timbes from Maybank; Div. 2 - Dara Craven from Snee Farm; Div. 3 - Gladys Labarca from Family Circle; Div. 4 - Cheryl Bolek from Daniel Island; Div. 5 - Kitty Reid from Country Club of Charleston. 

The selection of the Division Coordinators is done immediately after the division structuring process early in June.  The Board makes every effort to rotate coordinator responsibility among teams, taking into account the movement of teams between divisions and the changes in team rosters from year to year.  Captains will be notified, in late June or early July, if their team has been selected as a coordinating team and will be asked to make every effort to identify a willing and able team member to accept the job.  Volunteers are welcome!


2009 Minutes and Financial Report:   

As there were no objections from the floor, the reading of the prior year's minutes and review of the CALTA financial statement were dispensed with.  Both had been on the CALTA web site for many months.  It was noted that the minutes of all of CALTA's annual meetings, beginning in 2001, are on the CALTA web site -- and they make for interesting reading about the development of the policies and activities of our organization. 


Web Site and E-mail Communication:

The CALTA web site and e-mail are the primary means for the Board's communication with captains. Almost everything captains and players need to know is on the web site. It was noted that the captains should check the posted results on a regular basis since these are entered (and added) manually and mistakes can happen.  Should errors be found, Nancy/Linda should be notified immediately.  Captains were also advised to check their roster as listed in the web site to make sure all players have been entered.  Due to an unfortunate oversight this season, the results of several matches had to be reversed because the matches were played by someone who had not been listed on the team's roster.


Division Structure:

    Every existing team that wants to continue to play in the 2009-2010 season will again be asked to complete a "Continuing Team Form".  The form will be posted on the web site early in May.  An e-mail will be sent to all captains announcing when it is available.  The form must be submitted by the end of May for the team to be included in the schedule.  It is not necessary to have a roster or even a captain name when submitting the Continuing Team Form in May.  All that is required at that point is the name of a summer contact for the team and in which division the team wishes to play.  As in past years, it will not be necessary to submit rosters and dues until just before play starts in August. 

    CALTA added five new teams this season -- one at Daniel Island, one at Maybank, one at Snee Farm and two at Mount Pleasant Rec.  The Board will try to accommodate any team in the Charleston area that expresses an interest in playing as long as that team's tennis center has enough courts to accommodate the home matches on Tuesday mornings. For new teams the Board will continue to require that a "New Team Application" be accompanied by a nonrefundable dues deposit for 8 players.  The form will be on the web site shortly and must be submitted by June 1st -- earlier if possible.     It is first come first served at tennis centers where there is room for only one new team -- so anyone aware of a group that is thinking of starting a new team should alert them, or their pro, to this requirement.


      The Board will begin the division structuring process on June 1, as soon as all the Continuing Team Forms and New Team Applications have been received.  The Board begins by listing each team in each division in the order of their results, with the first team in Division 1 at the top and the last team in Division 5 at the bottom.  Listed next to each team is the division it requested to play in, with notes indicating any special circumstances for a specific team, e.g., if they are gaining/losing stronger/weaker members.  This is all available for perusal by any CALTA member by requesting the link to the web page.  What then determines how these teams are divided into divisions is not only the request of the team but also the structure of our calendar and the constraints it implies for division size.   Ideally, CALTA's schedule is defined by a season of 26, 27 or 28 matches for a division, from the end of August through the end of April, plus several official make-up days included in the schedule.  Each team plays every other team in its division two or three times -- with an even home/away pattern over the course of the entire year.  Because of the length of our calendar (which follows the Charleston Public School's), there cannot be more than 14 teams in a division.  It was explained that this is not an arbitrary decision.  There are simply not enough days in the calendar for 15 or 16 teams to play two rounds and still have a few make-up days.   Conversely, 11 or 12 teams in a division doesn't work because two rounds of play would make for too short a season and there are not enough days available for three rounds. So, unless there is a specific need for a small division to accommodate a certain level of play (as with Division 5 the past three years), the ideal division sizes are 9 or 10 (with 3 rounds of play -- 27 matches) or 13 or 14 (with two rounds -- 26 matches).  This approach has been reviewed at past Captains' meetings, with the clear majority of the captains indicating their approval with continuing this approach whenever possible.  

   The Board will not know exactly what there will be to work with until all the team requests are in.  Each year is a new slate until the number of teams and the levels of any new teams are ascertained -- but the Board assured the captains that the goal is always to have as level a playing field as possible in each division.  The Board will communicate with the team captains throughout the process.


   Member Question: Division 5 is very small this year.  Could it be absorbed into the other divisions?

   Board Answer:  This was considered during the division structuring process for this season but it was determined that it wouldn't work -- both in terms of playing levels (would have resulted in inequitable competition) and, with a total of 57 teams, would have resulted in division sizes that weren't acceptable within our calendar (as explained above). 


   Member Question:  In Division 5, both the Maybank and Charleston Tennis Center teams are suffering from having to forfeit too many courts.  Could we combine?

   Board Answer:  Not at this time.  That would result in "bye" days for the other teams. The Board considers it better that a few courts be forfeited rather than having an entire team not scheduled to play.  Next year, if these two teams wish to combine, and if there are no additional teams to be added at that level, the Board will look at both an overall 4-division structure (if workable in terms of competitive levels and division sizes) and also at having a 5-team division (which would involve many "bye" days) but may be the preferable option for those teams. 


RULES & CAPTAINS' RESPONSIBILITIES - Nancy Pitcairn, Vice President & Rules Chairman


Review of 2009-2010 Rules changes:

Nancy reviewed the new rule that had been added to the current season's rules, namely the "weather" rule regarding cancellation due to temperature.  The captains were asked if they wanted to discuss making any changes to this rule; the vote was unanimous not make any changes.


Coman Tiebreak:

A hand-out describing the Coman tiebreak was distributed.  The LCTA has adopted the Coman Tiebreak and the Board asked for a vote from the membership as to whether CALTA should do the same in the interest of consistency and to avoid on-court confusion. 

    Member Question:  Is the Coman tiebreak scored the same.   

    Board Answer:  Yes, the scoring is the same.  It s only the timing of change of sides that is different.

    Member Question:  It seems to take longer; are there additional breaks allowed?

    Board Answer: No, play is continuous from 6-6 into the tiebreak and then throughout the tiebreak.

    Member Question:  Is a third-set tiebreak still an option in lieu of the third set and, if so, would we use the Coman format for that also?

    Board Answer: Yes, a 10-point tiebreak is still an option in lieu of the third set as long as all four people on the court agree.  And yes, the Coman format would be used.


The captains voted unanimously to incorporate the use of the Coman tiebreak in all CALTA matches beginning January 19th.  The Board stressed that this season will be a "getting used to it" time.  No one should worry if a court forgets to use the Coman format -- play  should be continued using the old format if that's the way the tiebreak started.  Eventually everyone will get used to the new format.  Any on-court confusion resulting from employing the new system is to be settled on that court.  Captains were urged to make copies of the Coman tiebreak rules and distribute them to all their players.


Comparison of USTA and CALTA Rules:

Nancy gave a brief review of the differences in the rules between USTA/LCTA and CALTA rules (hand-out distributed), again in the interest of consistency, but also with a consideration for the basic philosophical differences between the two organizations, noting that, where there are differences, in most cases CALTA is more player-friendly -- and wants to continue to be so.  The following differences were discussed:


1. USTA uses ratings; CALTA does not.  This is the biggest difference and the core of the CALTA spirit.  The captains were unanimous in their support of keeping CALTA different in this respect.


2. USTA/LCTA does not allow "subs"; CALTA will continue to allow up to five subs on each team.


3. USTA/LCTA does not allow a player to transfer from one team to another; CALTA allows a one-time transfer anytme within the season.


4.  When a facility has both clay and hard courts, LCTA requires that the host team inform the visiting team of what positions will be playing on which surface prior to line-up exchange.  CALTA's rules says that the host team needs to inform the visitin team only if the visiting team asks.  The Board asked the captains to decide if our rule should be changed to put the onus on the home team, and, if so, what should happen if the home team does not inform the visiting team in a timely manner.  The captains voted unanimously to make the home team responsible for the notification prior to line-up exchange, and, if forgotten, then both line-ups are null and void and both teams have the right to change their line-ups (or not -- as desired).


    Member Question: Can the visiting team request a specific surface for a position, say, if a player has a bad knee?

    Board Answer:  No, but you will be able to make sure that player is on a clay court by changing the order of your line-up if necessary to match the court surface designated. 


    Member Question:  Can we find out the surfaces and positions the night before?

    Board Answer:  No, because many clubs do not assign courts until the morning of the match, but as long as you are told prior to the line-up exchange, you have the opportunity to adjust your line-up then.


    Member Question:  So you are saying that anybody can play in any position regardless of skill level?

    Board Answer:  YES!


5.  LCTA teams (except Seniors) must play out the third set.  As discussed previously, in CALTA a 10-point tiebreak is still an option in lieu of the third set as long as all four people on the court agree.  Again, the captains were unanimous that this remain CALTA's rule. 


6.  The LCTA allows Grievance Committee decisions to be appealed.  CALTA does not even have an Appeals Committee.  No one expressed interest in forming one, so the existing grievance procedure will remain.


7 & 8.  Several years ago the USTA did away with the 90-second break after the first game of a set, but CALTA members voted to keep it.  Also the USTA instituted a 2-minute break between the first and second sets -- which CALTA in the past did not adopt.  The unanimous vote of the captains was to keep the 90-second break after the first game and to institute the 2-minute break between the first and second sets.  There still remains the 90-second break at each remaining change-over, and the option of a 10-minute break between the second and third sets -- in both USTA and CALTA.


9.  LCTA allows the substitution of a player after line-up exchange if due to injury, illness or no-show.  CALTA has required a default of the affected court under these circumstances.  The captains voted unanimously to change this rule and to allow substitutions as long as it is by 9:45AM and before the first ball of match play has been struck.  If it is determined that an emergency situation applies for the no-show ("emergency" as defined in the CALTA Rules), the team has until 10AM to make a substitution. 


     Member Question: How closely must we adhere to time limitations?

     Board Answer: All time limitations should be adhered to and line-ups must be exchanged by 9:30AM, but individual courts can make their own decisions. 


     Member Question: What about a player who is always late?

     Board Answer:  As captain, you have three options: start late if you have the time and inclination; enforce the default and do not play the court; take the default but play as long as you can "for fun".


10.  LCTA allows no "grace period" for arrival.  CALTA allows 15 minutes for an emergence as defined by the rules.  The captains agreed unanimously to keep the grace period for verifiable emergencies. 


11.  LCTA requires that, if it rains after a match has begun, players must wait one hour to determine court playability.  CALTA allows the decision to be made by those on court.  This will remain the CALTA policy.


12.  LCTA requires that all rained-out matches be made up within two weeks.  CALTA has no time limit (other than the end of the season) and several official make-up days are built into the schedule (which LCTA does not have) -- in order to provide a more comfortable framework for rescheduling.  It was noted that the next available official make-up date on the CALTA schedule that is free for both teams involved must be used if a reschedule is required due to weather.

     Member Question:  Can we split up the courts? 

     Board Answer: Yes.


     Member Question:  Is there a deadline if all the official make-up days are already full?

     Board Answer:  Only the end of the season.  And while the Board encourages everyone to do their best to make up all matches, it is understood that certain years are more difficult in terms of weather than others.  if it is impossible to complete a match, both teams can opt to take zero points for that match. 


13. LCTA allows a let to be called the first time a phone rings on the court.  CALTA does not, since it is specifically addressed in the rules.  Any player can set their phone to vibrate and wear it on the court, or check it every change-over -- so it was agreed that a point penalty will remain in effect for every time a phone rings on the court.  It was also agreed that a neighboring court may call a let if the ringing on an adjacent court is a disturbance to them.  The vote was unanimous. 


Nancy then discussed several issues specific to CALTA.


1.  CALTA requires that the home captain call the visiting captain the night before to confirm the following day's match and discuss any potential problems.  Captains were asked to make every effort to follow this rule.  Many problems, both minor and major, can be avoided by a night-before phone call.


2.  Scorecards are to be signed by the captain or captain-designate at the conclusion of the match.  This gives both sides a chance to check that all scores and names are correct before submitting the score sheets to the coordinator. 


3.  After an incident this past Fall, the Board has elected to change one item in the Captains' Responsibilities document on the web site.  A captain is NOT to take an active role in an on-court dispute unless it is on her own court -- or she has been asked by all four players to assist.  The Board urges all players to settle matters on their own court between themselves.  Most problems can be resolved by referring to the CALTA rules -- a copy of which should be kept in every tennis bag.


     Member Question:  Should the "spin" be done before or after the warm-up?

     Board answer:  The "toss" or "spin" is supposed to take place prior to warm-up. 


2010 ANNUAL LUNCHEON- Pamela Doggett

      Pamela reviewed the history of our luncheon . . . Before CALTA was formed from its predecessor "City League", there were three separate divisions of City League (A, B1, B2), run independently of each other.  CALTA was formed in 2000 and in 2003 we decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of City League with one large luncheon for all our members;  it was so successful that we have continued the tradition.  We are now in our 10th season as CALTA --  so this year's banquet will be a kind of special birthday celebration.  CALTA is 10 years old !

    The Board is planning an extra special event this year, with all the usual and more besides.  All captains are encouraged to get all CALTA members to participate.  This year's luncheon will be on Tuesday, May 11 at 11:30AM again at the Omar Auditorium -- with police-directed free parking and the cost remains the same. There will be an extensive buffet menu, a cash bar, tables custom-sized to each team, an awards presentation for each division's winning teams, and the ever-popular raffle for the benefit of the Junior Recognition Program. 


JUNIOR RECOGNITION PROGRAM - Pamela Doggett, Chair of Junior Recognition Program

    CALTA's Junior Recognition Program has been in existence for eight years.  In that time, CALTA has awarded 204 grants totaling over $55,000.  Since only $2,000 is allocated from annual dues, this means that all the rest has been raised through the generosity of our members at our annual fundraiser -- the raffle at our annual luncheon. 

   The generosity of the CALTA membership, both through ticket purchases and donations of items for the raffle, has been outstanding -- and this year, more than ever, programs such as the CALTA Junior Recognition Program are much needed in the local community.


Member Question:  Could you speed up the raffle by drawing names or ticket numbers ahead of time and posting them on a wall screen or similar?

Board Answer:  This suggested approach works well at a smaller raffle where each attendee receives one ticket, but does not work efficiently for our type of auction where there are so many women in the room, many of them buying dozens, some hundreds, of tickets -- and we do not write our names on the tickets.  With so many items and so many people in the room, a numerical list would be very hard to read and would be difficult to organize in the very short period of time available since our the raffle remains open until late in the luncheon.    Every effort is made to keep the raffle moving very quickly -- different color tickets; runners to distribute to the winners, etc.  In fact the 100+ items at last year's luncheon were handled in less than an hour. Many members have told the Board that they enjoy the suspense of the announcements and the excitement of seeing what their teammates have won -- and that they hoped that wouldn't be changed. 



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