By Gina Clance, Senior Leagues Vice President
Here’s a huge THANK YOU for all your comments to our recent survey regarding possible changes to our Senior Leagues (winter Senior Mixed Doubles and summer Senior Men and Senior Women). Many comments addressed the same topics, so I’d like to address a few of them here.
Travel: We know extended travel is a huge issue in the ALTA Senior Leagues. This summer, we combined some levels to shorten your drive time. Hopefully, we were successful, and you are spending less time in your cars and more time on the courts. Atlanta traffic isn’t going to improve anytime soon, so the only way we can lessen travel time is to have more teams join the leagues. Consider splitting a large team — if your roster has 30 people on it, you have enough for two teams (with a few players to spare). Playing against your friends and neighbors in this league could be a great excuse for a cookout at the courts! Encourage others to start a new team — ALTA has plenty of folks ready and willing to help a new captain maneuver his/her first season.
Match start times: Some of you wanted matches to start later than 6:30 p.m. due to summer temperatures and travel time. Regarding the weather, we do allow a one-hour delay if the air temperature (not the heat index) is above 95 degrees. Except for a week or two of a major heat wave, most of the summer nights are well below 95 by 6:30 p.m. and definitely by 7:30 p.m. But this is Georgia, and our summers are hot! We want each player to assess his/her own health before taking the court in high temperatures. Changing the official start time causes problems with many of our approved facilities. We require court lights to stay on until 11 p.m. for these matches. If the lights go off while matches are still in progress, you may have to return on another evening to finish.
10-point tiebreaker vs full third set: There still is much confusion on this rule. Beginning in January, all Senior Leagues now use the 10-point tiebreaker as the default. If all four players wish to play a full third set, they may do so. If all four don’t agree, a 10-point tiebreaker is played. It is up to the four players on the court and may be decided at any point before the third set is to begin. This was done to help with the extreme temperatures in the winter and summer seasons and to help with the late nights in the summer.
Adding another line to summer Seniors: Our survey asked if you wanted to reduce the number of lines from four to three to help with late nights, 2-2 splits, and playing in reverse order in the postseason. Many of you suggested going to five lines instead of four. Five lines would get rid of the 2-2 split and playing in reverse order, but it would cause more issues with late night finishes and court lights not being able to stay on. The survey showed you don’t want to reduce the number of lines to three, so the summer Senior Leagues will remain at four lines of play.
City Finals start times: The reason City Finals are earlier (4 p.m. or 5 p.m.) than the other matches is because some of the facilities we use for City Finals close early. We reserve courts for City Finals months before they are played, and we appreciate each and every facility manager with whom we work. We want to continue to be able to play at these facilities, so starting early to accommodate the staff is a simple way to help them.
Seniors changing from 45 to 50 years old: If ALTA changes the age requirement for the Senior leagues, players who already are playing in the current Senior leagues would remain eligible to play. We would increase the age requirement without forcing folks to leave their current teams. This change has NOT been implemented. You will be notified through Net News, email, and social media if this or any changes are made to any of ALTA’s leagues.
Thank you ALL for your participation and comments! The only way we can know what you want is to ask, and we appreciate you taking the time to offer so many constructive (and sometimes entertaining) comments.