The rules of senior tennisWritten by Thomas G. Kress | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Since I just celebrated (kind of) my 80th birthday and can still play tennis at least three times a week, I feel a sense of urgency to record the following rules before a weakening body and mind destroy my ability to perform this service for my fellow seniors.
I must preface these rules by disclosing a gender limitation. I have not played mixed doubles for many years because my wife discovered that discussions with her female friends (particularly over a long lunch) were much more beneficial to our marriage than our relationship on the tennis court. Therefore, I admit that these rules do not apply to senior ladies tennis, which appears to be regulated by an entirely different set of rules (if any).
Rule 1: All participants in a senior tennis match should actually be on the court and ready to play no later than 15 minutes after the scheduled match time. This means that players requiring braces, suntan lotion and miscellaneous equipment adjustments should allow sufficient lead time to tend to those needs before leaving the clubhouse.
Rule 2: Warm-up time for a match shall be at least 20 minutes. No more than half of this time will be spent gathered at the net discussing so-called Obamacare.
Rule 3: Tennis ball life span will be limited to 10 matches or six months, whichever occurs first. No ball may be used if it does not bounce knee-high when dropped from a height of 6 feet. No ball may used if its number cannot be read.
Rule 4: An ideal match will consist of four players. Due to the fading memory skills of participants, this rule can sometimes be fulfilled by averaging four players over two consecutive playing days. The three members who show up on day one will play Australian doubles and the oldest of the five members who show up the next day will call lines from a chair.
Rule 5: Change-over time after every two games will be limited to 15 minutes with no discussion time allowed for Obamacare, which (after all) was fully discussed during warm-up time.
Rule 6: Line calls may be disputed for a maximum of 10 minutes, after which a hand vote must be taken. If the hand vote results in a tie, the opinion of the person who supplied the balls for the match will prevail. Once the decision has been rendered, there shall be no under-breath comment on the call during the remainder of the match.
Rule 7: No lobbing is allowed, due to the danger of a player falling and breaking a hip while running backwards.
Rule 8: Players are required to focus on their own match at least 50 percent of the time. The one exception is that, if a match on either adjoining court involves particularly good-looking young ladies, the required focus time may be reduced to 25 percent.
Rule 9: Players will be limited to one bathroom break per set. Exceptions will be made only for players 80 years of age and older or those with certified letters from their urologists. Players are encouraged to coordinate their bathroom breaks in order to minimize down time.
Rule 10: Game score disputes will be limited to 10 minutes and, if not then settled, will be immediately ruled on by the youngest member of the playing group, unless he is (or, in his prior life, was) an attorney. An attorney will be given an extra five minutes to rule so that he can properly qualify his opinion.
It is my hope that publishing these rules will help speed up the average court time; this will allow more time for the mandatory after-match visit to a restaurant which, after all, is the real motivation for seniors putting themselves through the physical and mental trauma of playing tennis.