March 5, 2009

When In Doubt, Call It . . . In

Yesterday, I played a 3 HOUR match, and ultimately, unfortunately, ended up losing. But it was a lot of fun and one thing that made it fun was that my opponents were very nice and made only one call, in the entire 3 hours, that I thought was questionable. It was on a deep lob I hit that looked like it might have caught the back line. At that point, my partner said to me, "Do you want me to say 'Are you sure?'" But I told her to let it go - we had been playing for so long and up to that point, I had had no problems with any of their calls.

"The Code: The Players' Guide for Unofficiated Matches" addresses the "when in doubt" situation as follows:
6. Opponent gets benefit of doubt. When a match is played without officials, the players are responsible for making decisions, particularly for line calls. . . . [A] player is guided by the unwritten law that any doubt must be resolved in favor of the opponent. A player in attempting to be scrupulously honest on the line calls frequently will find himself keeping a ball in play that might have been out or that the players discovers too late was out. Even so, the game is much better played this way.

It is mentally exhausting to play for 3 hours. And making calls on close balls adds to the challenge. Had my partner and I felt that we were being hooked or cheated, I'm sure we would have walked away from that match in disgust. But when you are playing against opponents that you feel are trying their best to make good calls, even a 3 hour match that you lose can be enjoyable. Well, maybe not enjoyable. But it was a lot of fun.

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

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