Among another things like coffee, air planes and software, Seattle is world famous for its weather. So getting an indoor court reservation is a big deal. No joke, you gotta get up early on Saturday and try calling many times to get through to the receptionist and reserve a tennis court for next weekend. Courts are normally booked within an hour or so.
A couple of months ago I joined CSTA’s summer tennis league: www.sctatennis.com. CSTA has been my only source of serious players for recreational tennis for a few years now. For $35 you get a list of 8 players and have a week to schedule and play a match with each of them. Must play all matches in about 10 weeks. When you’re done with all 8 matches you move on to play offs, if you qualify. Playoffs, however, must be played in the course of one specific weekend only, for some reason. If you can’t make that weekend, you forfeit your match and you’re out.
So I qualified the playoffs and my opponent kindly reserved a tennis court for us at the Amy Yee Tennis Center in Seattle for 6:45 pm on Saturday. Surprisingly, he double-checked with me to make sure I didn’t have any scheduling conflicts on Saturday before we booked the court. “I’m wide open”, I said. “Just pick a time”. You can imagine my excitement when one day before the match I realized I’d committed to go my girlfriend’s work party. We had to be at the work part at 6 pm. Funny hour to start a party, but that’s not up for negotiation, especially if I’d said Yes earlier.
So I couldn’t bail out of the party, or I’d be in the dog house indefinitely. I tried rescheduling the match. Man, was that an ordeal. Spent a good hour or so on the phone, only to find out Amy Yee was booked solid through the weekend. I could get on a wait list and get a court if something opens up. But! They wouldn’t call my (415) out of area cell phone, because they couldn’t dial non-local phone numbers. No, they couldn’t email me either.
Then I called the Robinswood Tennis Center in Bellevue, the only other public facility with indoor court reservations. I got lucky – they gave me a court for 4:30 pm on Saturday. So, hat in hand, I wrote an apologetic email to my tennis partner for the play offs, asking if he could come to Bellevue for an earlier tennis game.
I waited all day and finally decided to call him. Believe it or not, while I was dialing his phone number, I got a call from Robinswood telling me we that sadly we had to be booted out of our court. The bubble structure’s heating system crashed, so they had to move the children’s league indoor. They kindly offered me a free court the following weekend worth $24. But that was little consolation for me since my playoff match had to be played that particular weekend. And if it was my fault that I couldn’t be available for the time I’d initially said Yes to, then I’d default the match automatically. (I’ve started to suspect some guys actually like getting free points and the glory that comes with them, instead of playing, but that’s I different topic. I hope it’s not true.)
In the long run, I had to forfeit my match. I’d forgotten about my prior appointment. I couldn’t get a free indoor court.
And I couldn’t play the tennis player I was scheduled to play.
I wonder, what if I had more choices of local tennis players to pick from? What if I could find someone in Bellevue, instead of Seattle? Would that make it easier to schedule a tennis match?
I wonder if www.TennisRound.com will offer a different experience and change the thrills of setting tennis games from hour long phone calls and emails to a few click (or touches).