Tennis courts

Behavior of private tennis clubs on public tennis courts?

I’ve used the opinion section of the Asheville Citizen Times to write about far-right infiltration of school boards, Madison Cawthorn’s incompetence, and banned books, but I’m finally addressing an important issue: the public tennis court etiquette.

Last Monday a friend and I arrived at the Montford Park tennis courts for our weekly match. Rules for the Asheville Tennis Court stated, “If people are waiting, there will be a time limit of one hour for singles and one and a half hours for doubles.” The rules are posted on the Weaver Park and Murphy-Oakely Park tennis courts, and although it is not on the Montford courts, it is the widely accepted etiquette for most public facilities.

This sign hangs outside the Weaver Park tennis courts, but there is no sign on the Montford Park courts.

When we arrived on the courts, there was a father and his son who had to play, as well as an instructor and his teenage student. We settled in to wait, noting a group of “line” pickleballers ahead of us.

When father and son finished their game, the pickelballers got up to claim their pitch, but a woman, ostensibly the “spokespickelballer”, approached us and said, “We have a large group coming to celebrate. a birthday and technically we have the whole yard but I’m guessing since you’re waiting you can have the other lot once these two are done She was offering us a courtesy however according to the sign you cannot reserve the Montford courts for personal use.

We smiled politely and then complained when she left to join her friends.

The instructor must have overheard us complaining about the law because he decided to let us know that was what he practiced. “Hey guys,” he said, “did you know there are other courts in Weaver Park?”

Montford Park tennis courts do not need to be reserved in order to use them.

We do but told him we preferred Montford and didn’t mind the wait.

“Well, here’s the thing, guys,” he patronized, “I have another lesson coming after her, and each of my lessons is 40 minutes long.” We pointed out that you get an hour of play. “But I’m teaching,” he said, “and actually, they’re my client’s kids, so I’m doing them a favor.”

This has no bearing on public court rules, we pointed out – a singles hour is a singles hour. He then claimed that because he only came into town once a week, “someone” told him he was allowed two hours. Well, words were exchanged, and despite being right, we left.

“Good for you, I’m on your side,” the “spokesman” shouted at the instructor as we walked away. The birds of a titled feather flock together.

You know what I did when I wanted to play tennis at a specific time without having to fight with other tennis court users? Paid to reserve courts at the Asheville Racquet Club. It costs money, but at least you won’t have to fight public court peasants like me.

There is a protocol in place on the use of the tennis courts at Montford Park.

Sadly this is far from the first time I have encountered this behavior at Montford Park (and of course #notallwhitepeople it should be noted that it is always older white people dealing with the public courts such as private clubs). I think that’s emblematic of our biggest eligibility issue.

You see it in people who don’t hold their dogs in public because “my dog ​​is good.” You see it in the guy who tastes five different beers at a brewery as a line forms behind him because he needs a very particular “flavor profile”. You also see it in those who willfully spread a deadly virus because they were too selfish to stay home for 10 days. And don’t forget those who berate restaurant hosts who can’t seat them, despite lack of reservations. I overheard an Asheville acquaintance bragging about how she yelled at the staff at a taco shop when they forbade her from bringing her own alcohol into the restaurant. That’s right. Bragging. You also see it in more harmful ways, like thinking that imposing your religious beliefs on everyone else should be the norm, or perjuring yourself to get a Supreme Court nomination, knowing that once you get there, you won’t. face no consequences for spitting on the rule of law, you claim it is sacred.

Honestly, the older I get, the more I believe that most people aren’t inherently good or bad, just deeply selfish. You can package it as “self-care”, “authenticity” or “telling your truth”, but I think deep down we all know it’s the right, and know deep down that it’s is rude and fake, but if it works, if being the loudest, most ignorant authorized person in the room gets you what you want, why would you stop? No answers or suggestions from me here, just very resigned observations.

Pat Brothwell is a former high school teacher and writer and marketing professional living and working in Asheville.


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