By Keri Beck, Thursday Women’s League Vice President
Travel is the number-one hardship for the Thursday Women’s League. Trying to get to your match by 9:15 a.m. means having to navigate Atlanta’s morning rush hour. Compounding this issue is the decline in weekday teams over the past several years. Fewer teams and changing metro demographics can result in challenges to minimizing drive times to matches.
ALTA has five original metro counties: Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett. We also have annexed tennis facilities in counties adjacent to the original five, so the geographic area we must schedule has become quite large.
During the leveling process every season, the overall coordinators and league vice president try very hard to create divisions where travel is as optimal as possible. Rest assured we do not want any team to have to travel extreme distances to matches. The ALTA mapping program uses GPS coordinates for each tennis facility; it takes the most outlying teams and pulls the seven closest to make a division. As teams move up and down from season to season, the makeup of these divisions changes. One season you may not have to travel too far to your matches, and the next season that may change. In some instances, we may shift teams up or down a level to create a more geographically centric division. Not all divisions will have eight teams, so in some flights we may continue to experience travel challenges. We ask that you understand that every season we are trying to determine the best possible solution for all 800 teams.
Our goal each season is to place teams where they can play competitive, fun matches, and not have to spend hours in the car. We continue to brainstorm creative solutions to help resolve travel time issues. We are developing a survey to be distributed soon, which outlines some of these alternatives. I would encourage you all to take advantage of this opportunity to provide your feedback on how we can best mitigate our travel challenges.