I’m Back . . .

I’m not sure anyone even noticed, but I’ve been out of town all week on a Girls Trip with my daughters.  My middle daughter and I were visiting her big sister in Los Angeles.  Yes, the Indian Wells tournament was in full swing.  No, we did not attend.  Sometimes hiking and shopping and Disneyland trump tennis.  Sometimes.

Anyway, I have been following all the comments posted on my article about our options regarding the 2014 calendar.  Wow!  A lot of emotion coming through.  Obviously, I have many passionate readers here who fall on both sides of the 2014 changes.  That’s a good thing.  And unexpected.  At least, I don’t think USTA had any inkling that all this passion would emerge a year ago when it announced the changes.

There’s another big meeting this weekend down in Florida.  I have no idea how all of this is going to shake out.  I just hope, whatever happens, that junior tennis in the US continues to grow and to thrive.  I think – despite our differences of opinion on just how that should look – that’s what everyone hopes.

12 Comments on “I’m Back . . .”

  1. Welcome Back!

    Well, they closed the junior section in Talk Tennis, and I think you are picking up some of their traffic 🙂

    BTW, I hope you continue to post the other stuff….
    It is fun to follow your travels.

  2. Hi Lisa,

    This is an interesting letter that Chuck Kries wrote about foreigners in college tennis.
    1/2 way down the page.

    Thought it might be an interesting spin off for a new column.

    http://coachjpweber.com/college-tennisforeign-players-and-my-steps-to-help/

    Chuck Kriese
    October 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Miren,

    It is great to hear from you. I regard you and your family as one of the best examples (ever) who have used the opporunity of an American paid tennis scholarship to a foreign tennis player to win/win result. You and family have stayed here in the US after college and have contributed to the USA tremendously. I appreciate so much how you have helped make the USA a better place through you and your wife’s work to help young people through your teaching. Many who come to the US do not give back so much. As a coach and a teacher, you are among the best; foreign or domestic.

    In regard to your comments about my stand for American players, please remember that no-one is for completely elimianting this type of opportunity for foreign players. The inordinate loss of American opportunities is what I and others oppose. Massive amounts of hard-earned American Tax-dollars now go to pay for a lopsided amount of foreign tennis players schooling and training. American opportunity in tennis is dying without opposition. It hs been a problem for over 25 years and has not been addressed effectively. The intention of ‘Bring Back American College Tennis’ is to find a fair balance once more. I will discuss it regularly on UR10s networks’s “American Tennis with Chuck Kriese” program. Please call in as you have ideas of how we can find solutions to this ongoing problem.

    A few other thoughts, Miren. No other country in the history of the world has spent 60+ million dollars each-and-every year to educate foreign tennis players. In all other countries, sports leagues have number limits on foregin participants and rightfully so. As many coaches who recruit foreign players may say that they are forced to because they have to win, the reality never spoken is that these resources are seldom worth the short range hype of being able to say that one’s team won conference with all foreign players. The real tragedy is that Americans have lost opportunities for such short-sited goals.

    The dollars used to fund college teams in not play-money or some kind of a waiver program. Hard working US tax players, like yourself, earn it through sweat. And now, US tennis suffers overall because of wrongful allotment of funding to non-citizens (many of who are not amateur and have already played on professional circuits). You know, I know and everyone knows that the situation is not what college sports is supposed to be about. College sport is set up primarily for US citizens and their educational and leadership opportunities.

    Gender equity and the misinterpretation of the Porportionaility aspect of Title IX have had an additional devastating effect on the tennis in this country. The non-intended, or perhaps the intended, consequence that reduced squad sizes and all walk-on opportunities for men who want to play were never to be a part of the idea of equity for American women. Title IX was never set up to be a benefit for international women. The way that it stands, American men and women both have lost opportunity because of influx of foreign players at all levels. I have a goal to investigate ways to get opportunity back for American young men and young women. It is time to ‘Bring Back American College Tennis’.

    Thanks always for your thoughts and insights. I surely respect and appreciate your passion and help.

    Chuck Kriese

    1. Tennis5, I have seen Coach Kriese’s letter and have been talking with him over the past several months about this exact issue. Look for more information to help us parents help our kids navigate the challenges of college recruiting in the very near future! One battle at a time . . .

  3. Real classless Antonio that you would post that. Real lack of character. How did the vote go today?

  4. Classless? Only from your perspective because it tells a truth you don’t like to hear (in a way that is not remotely offensive, by the way). I guess all the others who posted it, emailed it and tweeted it (including Lisa) are classless too.

    And the vote will go exactly the way I expected it would go with arrogant folks like you involved and with sections that oppose the changes too afraid to speak out for political reasons. I guess that happens when people like Andrea Calvert Sanders get fired for opposing the changes.

    People like you can’t engage in civil and constructive discussion and aren’t man or woman enough to put your name on your opinions. No wonder TennisWarehouse was forced to take down its junior tennis thread. Sad.

    Sadder yet is that you celebrate a decision that is bad for kids, bad for tennis and bad for the already badly-damaged reputation of the USTA.

  5. Antonio:

    On behalf of many tennis players and parents, thank you for what you are doing. With a blue chip son, it is clear that you are doing this for the greater good of all the kids as opposed to your own child. I am sorry that most of us have been seemingly apathetic about voicing our concerns. Many of us have been doing it in our own way by speaking to tournament directors, officials and amongst ourselves, but most are afraid to sign our names to being a squeeky wheel. The repercussions are common knowledge and it is very appreciated by many that you have signed your name and reputation to a cause for so many kids who you don’t even know. I am sorry so many have been silent while you get attacked on forums like this. While I choose not to engage in the nastiness, I want you to know that your efforts are spoken about regularly and appreciated by many.

    Thank you for what you have been doing.

    Eric

  6. Eric, I echo your sentiments toward Antonio and the efforts he has made on behalf of ALL our children.

    To The Reality, I hope you’ll take a step back and reflect on the fact that your comments over the past few weeks have provided the opportunity for my readers to see what Antonio and several others have been up against when dealing with USTA execs, board members, staff, and, yes, even volunteers.

    This has been an uphill battle from the start, and there have been many who have thrown in the towel along the way. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the people who have been working openly as well as behind the scenes to try to get USTA to pause these 2014 changes. There was some progress in the form of the amended changes that came out of the Dallas meeting, but, sadly, I don’t think it was enough. And, sadly, I think this is going to have a permanent splintering effect on our tennis community.

    The challenge moving forward is to figure out the best way for each of us to help our junior players navigate through the 2014 schedule and to work with our section leaders to encourage them to add back at the sectional level the eliminated national opportunities, maybe even in the form of “open” draws so our kids can continue to compete with those outside their own section. TennisRecruiting’s new series of tournaments is a start in that direction, so I urge all of you to go back and see how you can fit those events into your child’s competition schedule.

    Once USTA’s statement is released on Monday, I will publish it on this blog. I will respect the process for now in hopes that the statement will be comprehensive and complete.

  7. Thanks, Eric and Lisa, your comments are much appreciated. Great thanks are owed to Lisa for championing this cause and to Steve Bellamy, Kevin Kempin, Robert Sasseville, Geoff Grant, Sean Hannity and others who have also put their names out there and sadly been criticized in very personal ways.

    The deck was stacked against parents and kids from the beginning, but we achieved some substantial improvements to what was originally approved. It is a shame there was never a true poll of parents so that there would be hard evidence of the passion and depth of the opposition.

    Cindy Harkins, a member of the JCC who was among the authors of the changes and whom I’ve come to really respect despite our disagreements, stopped me after the meeting yesterday and said this was a starting point and that things can be improved with time. I hope she’s right.

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