Miscommunication: late arrival

It was the middle of December 2012, and we were playing in the middle of our three month and ten matches long season.

It’s Pumpkin’s freshman year in college who gets home in a record time from school and we decide to take in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I thought they’d like 3D (at 7:00 pm) but they prefer 2D (6:30 pm). It isn’t my type of movie but I tried to glue to the seat, to be there with them. However, mid way into the adventure, my phone begins to shake: emails, texts and voice calls pouring in like broken dam, unstoppable.
All from my teammates: one of my First Doubles players is late.
Getting a call right before a match, is like a phone rings in the middle of the night: nothing but nightmare.

  • The First Chauffeur is texting: where to pick up our two teammates
  • The acting captain is calling because the opposing captain asked him to move our 1D to 3D due to lateness.
  • The Second Chauffeur is texting and calling ..

Because the match is held at the bubble which is a good 5-10 minutes walk from the main building, in the dark so I asked one of my mates who drives to pick up the two mates who take subway. I just could not bear the thought that they walk in the dark. (Not sure if the Metro league knew/cared, they should really not to schedule matches, especially for the Manhattan league in the bubble.) When Mr. First didn’t respond I asked Mr. Second. Now Mr. Second is risking being late too. When they finally get hold of everyone, it’s obvious that 1D will be good 10 minutes late.

By the way, it’s an violation to use any electronic device on court – may constitute coaching!  The Metro league credits each court with the following number system:
1D = 6 points
2D = 4
3D = 3
Obviously 1D worth twice as many points as the 3D. Moving my 1D to 3D, the opposing team, presumably has a clear advantage on paper. I am furious. In my past experience, we just waited till the opposing team’s player(s) to show up. I’ve never asked them to switch the line up – the thought has never occurred to me because it isn’t a decent thing to do. I want to win fair and square.
Time is ticking.
I exit the movie twice to handle the situation. My acting captain finally give up arguing and says that he keeps telling the opposing captain that the missing player will arrive before the cut off time. He says he’ll do whatever the opposing captain wishes because the short 1.5 hour is diminishing very fast.
12 minutes pass the starting time, my running late mate steps on to the court. Match starts.
The movie (2:46) ends at around 9:15. My daughter asks me if I felt asleep.
Yes I did a little. It isn’t my cup of tea, and my mind was on the team.
They ask why did I have to go out, twice.
I went to the bathroom, I fabricate.
My kids enjoy it very much.
I feel sorry that my mates have to face so much chaos and stress. I call as soon as the pendulum strikes 10.
My 2D reports: we won.
Then my acting skipper says simply: we swept.
I am so pleased. No pleased isn’t the right word. Vindicated? Relief?
As I’m on the phone, I hear a woman’s voice screaming in the background, clear enough to make out that she’s going to appeal.
Appeal of what? My team did exact what you wanted them to do.
痛打落水狗 is never my style. But I’d like to know if the opposing captain has the right to force my team to switch. The flight coordinator replies:

You are supposed to exchange scorecards 5 min before the match and if all the players have not arrived yet then the missing player should be moved to 3D (in case of a default). That is in the rules too.  Your opposing captain is correct.

A seasoned captain weights in:

It clearly states that a default must occur from the bottom up (3rd dbls first everyone else moves up), but only  after the end of the warm-up period. It also states elsewhere that the warm-up period can be 15 minutes. Since the player showed up in 12 minutes, no movement was required. The fact that you did was quite gracious.

The rule on page 3 says:

Default: when player listed on the scorecard fails to show within 15 minutes after the match time.* Players arriving onto the assigned court more than 15 minutes after the match start time may be defaulted at the discretion of the opposing captain (having been so advised before the start of match play on that court.)
..
Scorecards must be exchanged simultaneously between captains AT LEAST 5 minutes prior to the match start time. Teams must present a line up at this time, even if all players are not yet present**.

**Defaults MUST occur from the bottom up. If a doubles player is missing at the end of the warm-up, the line-up MUST be adjusted and that team put into the 3rd doubles position. The 2nd and 3rd doubles teams will be moved up 1 position – no other changes in either teams’ line-up are allowed. 3rd doubles MUST be the court defaulted.

The rule indicates only when 15 minutes of default time reaches. There is no rule to support when a player arrives late but within 15 minutes.

The way I read this the switch doesn’t occur until the 15 minute default time has lapsed. Therefore if a player (in the 1st or 2nd position) is late on either team, none of the matches should start until the default deadline is reached to accommodate the switch.

The coordinator writes back:

Irene,
Please read the footnote…it says that the default must occur in 3rd doubles. So most captains make the adjustment before the warm up if their player is missing. It’s just easier than having to interrupt the matches, does that make sense?

Since your captain didn’t know the rules then the courts stand as they were played last night.

Few more emails exchanged. Finally, on 12/20 the coordinator admits:

Bottom line is (and this is what the majority of captains put into practice when interpreting the rule) if you don’t know where your player is – you should move them. If you are sure they are arriving on time – then leave the line-up as is and take the risk.

The arriving on time should change to arriving within 15 minutes.

Miscommunication? Maybe.
Arrive late? Inexcusable.
How’s the movie? What movie?

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