“The rules are a tool, not a weapon.”

IMG_2359_EBB_loIt’s tough to remember the name even as an acronym, which is a good indication of the level of complexity and detail involved in heading up an organization like the Fairfield County Women’s Tennis League (FCWTL). Clever, determined and with a penchant for organization, Elizabeth Barth was the perfect choice for president.

“I was always impressed with the way the league was run. I got involved as captain of the D Team, became division facilitator, was Webmistress for two years, and started the Shoulder League with Casey Fulton, FCWTL Vice President. Then over a year ago, I was so excited to be asked to become FCWTL president.”

Elizabeth began playing tennis eight years ago, after leaving her job as equities trader and choosing to stay home with her kids. She was always athletic and competitive as a child believing in fair play and respect. What attracted her to tennis, was the idea that determination and resolve could win games even when faced with greater opponents.

In our minds we thought ‘What are we doing here, there is no way we can win,’ but in our hearts we would not give up.

“When I first got into tennis, my partner signed us up for a the Greenwich town tournament. We were paired against a Level 1, A Team. In our minds we thought ‘What are we doing here, there is no way we can win,’ but in our hearts we would not give up. They were skilled but we were scrappy and refused to be intimidated. We won the match.”

“Often our tennis personality is different from our personality off the court. On the court you may feel more free to stretch your limits and make anything happen, that’s what makes it so appealing.”

The FCWTL was formed in 1968 as clubs began to play organized matches against other area clubs. Prior to that time-frame matches were intraclub only. Rules were created as any questions or disputes might have surfaced. The rules are always being fine tuned and amended but over the years tried and true rules hold water.

Here are some of the most disputed or misunderstood rules that come up time and again.

Top 10 Fact or Fiction FCWTL Rules (or So TRUE & So NOT)

10. If you call a foot fault on the opposing team player, you will get the point or second serve.
SO NOT! Foot faults are not addressed by the FCWTL Rules.

9. If a player shouts “OUT!”as the ball is in the air but the ball then lands “IN” the point automatically goes to the opponents.
SO  TRUE!  If a player shouts OUT before the ball lands, the opponents stop play.  If the ball then lands in, the opponents will not be ready to receive play.  The point automatically goes to the opponents if the ball lands in.  The FCWTL encourages players to say ‘Watch it’ or ‘Bounce it’ instead.  Of course, if the ball lands out… it is in fact, out.

8. During a match, if no one on the court knows how to score a tie breaker then players can agree to play a regular game to settle the score.
SO NOT!  The FCWTL unlike the USTA requires players follow its specific rules.  Even if all four players agree to a change of the rules, the FCWTL will require the players to return to the court and complete the match according to the FCWTL rules.

7. If you use your phone on the court any time during a match, the opposing team can file a protest to take a point away from your team.
SO TRUE!  Usually, though, winners never file protests…

6. If you do not wear whites to a FCWTL match you may lose a point for your team.
SO TRUE! This also applies to indoor matches where the facility may allow colored outfits.

5. If a player on your A team has not played a match, you may move them to the B team to play on court 1.  
SO NOT!  Once a player is rostered on a team, that player can only move up levels never down levels, regardless of whether they have played a match or not. The FCWTL suggests you roster players as you need them.

4. If a match is rained out or timed out (for indoor matches), teams have until the last day of play to make up the matches.  
SO NOT!  Teams must complete these matches before the NEXT scheduled match date.  

3. If a match has split sets, players may take a 10 minute break to get refreshments and catch up with their teammates on the results of other matches.  
SO NOT!  Players may opt for a 10 minute break, but they may not interact with anyone, especially their pro.  If a players must speak to someone off the court, the FCWTL encourages them to take one of their opponents with them.  No monkey business here!

2. Any one of the four players on the court may call a ‘LET.’  
SO TRUE! Although this rule is not spelled out specifically in the rules, it’s common sense.  A server may not see the ball a few feet away from them, but their opponents will and should call a LET.  It’s all about injury prevention.

1. The rules are a tool not a weapon!
SOOO TRUE!  This phrase was coined by Linda Cremin, President for the league until 2008.

Thanks, Elizabeth! I had better brush-up on those rules…
For the latest league news, to find out your team standings or contact FCWTL please visit www.fcwtl.com.

Happy playing!