My name is Rosemary Campanella, and I’m a freshman at Wells High School in Wells Maine. I’ve been playing tennis for as long as I can remember. Tennis is my passion, and I’ve enjoyed making it a priority it my life. It wasn’t always that way. Tennis is a tough sport to play as a kid, and it can be pretty lonely at times, especially when so few of your friends play. I think that is one reason why I’ve always enjoyed playing doubles. It’s also why I’ve been looking forward to playing high school tennis for so long. Unfortunately my school doesn’t have an official tennis team of our own, and so I’ve known for quite some time that I would have to play with another school’s team. As far as I knew, playing with another school’s team when yours doesn’t have one was a fairly common thing. As I recently learned however, it’s not as simple as it sounds, at least not when it comes to tennis.
Please read on, or jump directly to my petition, below.
The Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) classifies tennis as a “Cooperative Individual” sport, along with swimming, cross country, skiing, etc. Other sports like basketball, softball, soccer, etc., are classified as “Cooperative Team” sports. The distinction being that with cooperative team sports, schools without a team of their own are able to form a multi-school team and students from each school in the cooperative can participate as full members of the team. Cooperative individual sports allow students to compete with another team, but as an individual, not a member of the team. What this means for tennis, is that if I were to play this high school season, none of my matches would count towards the team’s final score. This is crazy and hard to believe but absolutely true. Since none of my matches would count, this leaves the team and coach with two options: either play me and forfeit my match or keep me on the sidelines. Even worse, if I were to play doubles, my partner would have to forfeit along with me, regardless of the outcome.
It baffles me that these two different classifications exist. I had thought that a team was a team, no matter what sport the team participates in. While the distinction might work for other individual sports where you are competing for a personal score, this rule is clearly broken for the sport of tennis. In tennis you are competing directly against a player (or players) from the opposing team, and your score can’t simply be excluded from the team’s overall score. A single forfeited match could easily determine which team wins and which loses. Personally I don’t think there should be any distinction at all between team and individual sports when a “team” is involved. To me it is a clear discrimination between the more popular sports and the less popular ones. For that reason, I can only hope this issue just hasn’t come up before with tennis. While it would probably take some time to correct this issue for all of the sports affected, with tennis the issue is more pressing as it is just flat out wrong and unfair. That’s why it’s my hope this can be fixed before the start of the spring season, so that I and others in my situation have the opportunity to play meaningful team tennis this year.
My parents and coach have contacted the MPA Tennis Committee looking for reassurance that this rule will in fact be fixed in time for this year’s season. While we have yet to receive any such assurance, the committee is set to review this issue at it’s next meeting on March 5th, just weeks before the start of the season. Between now and then we could use all the support we can get, which is why I’d like to ask you to sign the petition that follows below, showing your support for us. I say “us” because I have a close friend who I train with regularly who is stuck in the same boat as I, and a younger sister who would encounter this problem in the future as well. Unless this rule is fixed, we will be denied the opportunity to play meaningful high school tennis just because of the towns we live in and the sport we love.
I hope you can all support us on this issue and much thanks to those of you out there who do. And please if you have any questions or comments I would love to hear them in the comments section below. If you’d like, you can also contact the Tennis Committee directly. I’ll be sure to let you know how things turn out.
This petition is now closed.
End date: Mar 10, 2015
Signatures collected: 484