The Tournament that Almost Was
Finally, after months of being on alternate lists and finding out last minute whether or not he was going to play that weekend, my son got direct entry into one of our Southern Level 3 tournaments AND was seeded! He had a pretty good draw and figured he had a very good chance of getting to the Semis if not winning the whole thing. He had been playing well in practice over the past couple of weeks and went into the weekend feeling very confident in his game.
So, early Friday evening, we packed up the car and headed to South Carolina, an easy 2-hour drive from our house. The weather forecast was bleak, but we kept hoping the Weather.com folks would be wrong (hey, that’s not a reach, right?!?) and that the 2-day tournament would finish as planned. We drove under clear skies and fell asleep under those same clear skies. But, then the Weather Gods decided to have a bit of a mood swing.
My son was originally scheduled to play his first round at 2pm on Saturday, so we had planned to sleep in a bit that morning. When we woke up and opened the hotel curtains, the weather looked grey but dry. Apparently, though, it had been raining steadily since early morning, and the tournament was on an “indefinite” rain delay. Oy!
My son’s warm-up partner lives about an hour from the tourney site, so his family decided to wait out the weather before driving over. That meant we were going to hang out in our hotel room until the Tournament Director decided how to proceed. Finally, around Noon, the draws were updated, and my son was scheduled to play his first round match at 8:30pm. Again, oy! That meant only one round would be played on Saturday (with short-scoring, I might add, and on clay as opposed to hardcourts as planned) instead of the scheduled 2 matches as is typical of a Southern Level 3. And that meant 3 rounds on Sunday, probably also with short-scoring, and a late night drive home for us assuming my son did well and kept winning. Add to that the fact that the forecast for Sunday was a 70% chance of rain starting at 3am, continuing throughout the day. To the TD’s credit, he gave players an “out” on the tourney website, allowing them to email the Tournament Referee if they wanted to withdraw altogether.
So, I decided to throw on some clothes and head over to the main site to see if I could get a better feel for what the TD had planned. The 10s and 12s were scheduled to play there, and the TD had found clay courts for all the other age divisions in hopes of squeezing in the matches once the rain stopped. Unfortunately, the rain continued for quite some time, and all matches were further delayed, meaning that my son’s first match probably wouldn’t go on until at least 9pm (though, in the 18s, the matches could go on as late as 10pm under USTA rules). Can I hear another, “Oy”?
At that point, I made an executive decision (after making sure my son was on board) to withdraw from the tournament and head home. Our hotel let us out of our reservation without charging us for Saturday, so it was kind-of a no-brainer. We packed up our stuff and were home in time for dinner.
We’ve never done that before. We’ve always hung around and waited out the weather, crossing our fingers that it would clear long enough for some good tennis to be played. I’ve always been of the mindset that if you sign up to play, then you stay and play. Bad weather is just part of junior tennis. But, given these particular circumstances, I felt it was the right thing to do – to cut our losses and beg off.
Turns out, we made a very good decision. The rain did indeed continue throughout the night and the next day, and the tournament was cancelled altogether around noon on Sunday with no matches being played that second day. Keep your fingers crossed for better weather this weekend – we’re heading to a Southern Bullfrog (Designated) on Friday, and these kids really want the chance to play!