College team tennis has its own unique rules. The “no service let” is even for men only.  One coaching colleague suggested “…the NCAA should have only ten rules, and if they add one they also have to eliminate one!”   Rules can be complicated .  Both coaches and players are better off knowing the rules.  American  college tennis is ruled by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).  High schools have their own.  USTA rules are the backbone of both, with differences for local and team differences. 

Here are some simple core rules:

PLAYERS ——Play by the CODE*

COACHES—-Don’t “stack” your lineup!**

REFEREES—- Line calls.  Stop the cheaters.  ***

  • A. The Code USTA Rules & Regulations are in effect in college tennis except where explicitly superseded by ITA, NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA or Conference Rules. The Code is not part of the ITA Rules of Tennis. Players shall follow The Code unless there is a specific ITA Rule on point or except to the extent to which an Official assumes some of their responsibilities

Opponent gets benefit of the doubt. Whenever a player is in doubt, the player shall make the call in favor of the opponent. Balls should be called “out” only when there is a space visible between the ball and the line. A player shall never seek aid from a Chair Umpire, Roving Umpire, spectator, teammate or coach in making a line call.

**3. Players must play in order of ability. The line-up shall always be based on order of ability. In singles, players must compete in order of ability with the best player on the team playing at the No. 1 position, the second best at No. 2, and so on through all positions. This rule shall also apply to doubles play with the strongest doubles team at No. 1, etc. 

***Overrule must be immediate. It is the responsibility of the player to make an initial line call. An official in direct observation of a court shall immediately overrule a player’s erroneous “out” call. 

The  USTA (United States Tennis Association),  The ITA,  NFHSAA (National Federation of High School Athletics Associations) all have their rules in their online handbooks.   Most states have theirs online also.  ( North Carolina’s  are under THE NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS COACHES ASSOCIATION).

Parting Shots:  Rules change.  Year to year.  Tough to keep current.  

And societal changes affect sports too.  i

In my career Integration, Title IX,  Proposition 46 (800 SAT ) were seismic changes.  The influx of international  college tennis players was the most influential tennis rule change.  This year the portal rule becomes law.  It will affect American tennis families  ( see blog PORTALS AND POTHOLES )

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TENNIS PARENTING (by Frank Giampaola )  is a current  book I recommend. 

Additionally the article below should alert parents, players’ and coaches to the present situation:

  1. Check the college’s websites for rosters and nationality of players.
  2. There is an “elephant in the room” of college tennis: They don’t want
    your kid. Why? An 18-year-old can’t beat a 23-year-old international
    (other factors being equal).
  3. Don’t give money to institutions that don’t support our kids. Tell your
    alumni and giving buddies the same.
  4. Don’t go for the “walk-on” speech. If a coach wants your kid, he will
    find a scholarship. Otherwise, he has nothing to lose and probably
    doesn’t think your kid will play. Believe me.
  5. “Enron” University is out there. You have to protect your kid.
  6. Let the press know your feelings.
  7. Check out the “Florida Story” about internationals.
  8. Let the coaches know how you feel.
    James Michener, in Sports in America: “and we do it in the name of
    education.” What hypocrisy.


“…its not dark yet, but its getting there.” Bob Dylan.

DARK HUMOR (edited 2022)

Like a lot of people my age I read obituaries more often.  Some are humorous.  Here are some examples of gallows humor.

• A man named Tom Traylor had paid in advance to be cremated . A cancer patient, Tom wanted to renegotiate the price. When he signed the original contract Tom said that he had weighed about 180 lbs. Cancer treatment had affected his weight downward to about 140pounds. Tom reasoned he’d lost easily about 30% of himself. Shouldn’t he get a discount?

• Another interesting observation about obituaries came from a Professor Clotfelter of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor. Here are two the professor cited for support:

• When this North Carolina State gridiron faithful could no longer attend games in person he was despondent. He really missed the live action. Still it was reported that he never missed an Wolfpack game on television. He watched every game in front of his home TV. Frequently in a three point stance.

• Clotfelter did admit fanaticism was not limited to North Carolina. He cited a man from Wisconsin who stated in his obituary:” I love the Badgers, the Green Bay Packers, and most of my grandchildren.”

And then the man from Ohio, who requested that his six pallbearers be members of the Cleveland Brown’s football team. Asked why? he reasoned “…I want to be LET DOWN one last time by the Browns.”

•One person concluded: “Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they would tell you how the person died.”  (“Passed”—-in the South?  See Jeanne Robertson’s demonstration ).

Garrison Keillor tells of a dying friend’s prohibition of the terms “she passed”, or “celebration of life”.

Jeanne Robertson said when a Southerner used “passed” or “passing “, they always lowered and tilted their head to the side.

Covid shares reasons for the delayed “celebrations” uptick. Before the pandemic most funerals were plain vanilla (Psalms 23, Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, The Lord’s Prayer. —-0utta here! ) Delays caused by Covid have spawned more creativity. Cremation too! (up 50%).

Willie P. Richardson wondered if the perquisite BBQ grill a funeral offered , would be hot enough to just go ahead and cremate his uncle? After the que.

B&S : I am “burn and scatter”. Atlantic ocean is one mile west. Economical at worst.

ECONOMICS: 5OK annually, or more, for something you don’t want? (Nursing homes). All us old folks say no to drooling in a wheel chair. BUT–“There are no atheists in foxholes”! Like cremation, euthanasia is an Old Fart’s” interest area. Some suggest some form of a “do it yourself “project. Listing options, asphysxiation (car, hose, garage, carbon dioxide route ) was mentioned to my friend. He replied, “…yeah but you could wind up like ( a relative I didn’t know).”

I asked what happened to that guy”?

“The dumb son of a bitch ran out of gas”!


SERIOUS NOTE ON EUTHANASIA (from author Cederquist ):

Everywhere and always, civilization depends on the drawing of intelligent distinctions.

Jennifer Glass, a Californian who died August 11, drew one. She said to her state legislators, “I’m doing everything I can to extend my life. No one should have the right to prolong my death”.

The Economist reports that in the seventeen years under Oregon’s pioneering 1997 law, just 1,327 people have received prescriptions for lethal medications—about seventy-four a year—and one third of those did not use them. Possessing the option was sufficient reassurance.

There is nobility is suffering bravely borne, but also in affirming at the end the distinctive human dignity of autonomous choice. Brittany Maynard, who chose to be with loved ones when she self-administered her lethal medications was asleep in five minutes and soon dead.


Okay–so not all are “celebrations of life.”

One minister, who didn’t know the deceased, asked the congregation for comments about him? No response. Finally a man raised his hand and the concluded, “…his brother was worse!”

EVENING SHADE featured the father in law (Hal Holbrook) telling coach son in law (Burt Reynolds), in almost every episode, “…yeah, but that was before you married my daughter and ruined my life!” Rreading obits in hard times : “…hmm. there’s another job opening!”

ON ATTRITION : CLYDE PASSED –tilt your head!

(see letter)


Another obit question–should all who marry wear white? “love of their life”? Or FOR ALL THE GIRLS (BOYS) I’VE LOVED BEFORE”? List “loves of their lives”? No, no.

Our Governer’s wife just flipped off a group of Trumpers. Does a funeral not give the “others” the last word?


Why not write your own obit? I have heard that some are making their own funeral videos!

FUND RAISERS? My wife worked with Hospice. Never was I surpised that memorial gifts were directed to Hospice. But, “c’mon man”–send $ for their cat? That begs the question of a “fake”. Even before one “passes” (head turn)… a gofund for Tommy?

My minister Father satd his idea of heaven would include “…being able to eat all you want and not get fat.”

I read THIS IS ASSISTED DYING by Stefanie Green. At the end of the book she listed things people said in their last moments. Often one requested music, Often specific songs. One man pretty much knew St. Peter’s answer. They played AC/DC’s HIGHWAY TO HELL for him.

A lot of people think one will be able to “see back” from the other side. I wonder about all that. I would like to know for sure about a few line calls, gimme putts, golf balls found in the woods. away referees on block/charge, TDs called back on holding penalties, pass interference.

We are too far away for funerals. I’m gonna send some songs to anyone who asks:

1, HEROES AND FRIENDS by Randy Travis

2. FAMILY RESERVE by Lyle Lovett


4. SOFTLY AND TENDERLY by Emmy lou Harris

5. BROKEN HALOS by Chris Stapleton


The latest “funny item” on the subject is the Apple movie RAYMOND AND RAY

SERIOUS OBSERVATION FROM MY DOCTOR : YOU, at 82 years. are most apt to die from some form of cancer, or from a stroke, or a heart attack. If it is cancer you will probably be told of it’s severity and your own treatment options and decisions. Bad heart attack—not much time for choices! Strokes are different—if the emergency room people get you, then decision making is no longer the patient’s. Do you want to forego those choices? (Dr. Mike)

I FOUGHT THE LAW AND THE LAW WON. There are lots of legal questions related. A new book, IN CASE YOU GET HIT BY A BUS (Sniederman and Seifer ) does a thorough job for “…when you are not around later”.

“I had my ( crap ) in a pile!” ( Chatty Bird )


Song by Chris Stapleton

Broken Halos

Seen my share of broken halos

Folded wings that used to fly

They’ve all gone

Wherever they go

Broken halos that used to shine

Angels come down

From the heavens

Just to help us on our way

Come to teach us

Then they leave us

And they find some other soul to save

Seen my share of

Broken halos

Folded wings that used to fly

They’ve all gone

Wherever they go

Broken halos that used to shine

Broken halos that used to shine

Don’t go looking

For the reasons

Don’t go asking

Jesus why?

We’re not meant to know the answers

They belong to the by and by

They belong to the by and by

Seen my share of

Broken halos

Folded wings that used to fly

They’ve all gone

Wherever they go

Broken halos that used to shine


As a Southern Baptist minister’s son I was early on aware of the tift between “moderates” and ‘conservates”. At age 82 I’ve had a long time to watch (“…you can observe a lot by watching!”—Yogi Berra ).

A good friend gigged me with a pro-conservative e-mail. I wrote back and simply asked if he was a “Republican” or a “Trump”? He hasn’t responded. But he has to soon. Mid-term elections are here. Matter of fact the church has to vote. Politicians. Public and private schools-colleges- universities. Issues of race relations, equality, democracy, climate dangers, abortion, greed. prejudice. lot of issues on the American plate in November.

“Now is the hour” sang the Baptist.

“People Get Ready” sang The Temptations.

People get ready,

there’s a train coming.

Don’t need no ticket–

you just get on board.



Not enough for a poker game?  Many gamblers fill that time with some version of gin rummy.

Here is a home made poker game for when small numbers have “the itch”.

The game for two: 


*Determine the dealer. Dealer alternates  round to round.

  • Dealer deals four cards in a row face down to his opponent,  then four similarly to him/her self.  These stay in order dealt, face down.
  • Dealer offers  one face up card.  The opponent can leave the card on stack, or card  one,  or pass it once to card two, or twice to card three.  Two passes and it is stuck there.   When that card is placed the next is offered to the next eligible card, whether opponent or dealer.  The cards are then offered to the required open card in clockwise fashion. 
  • The dealer offers each card in order until both players have four full stacks or  FIVE CARD HANDS;  the first card still down, the other four up. 


*This is a high – low game.  One point for best poker hand (high) and one point the worst (low).  Low is the “wheel “ or ace, 2-3-4-5.  The wheel can low or high or both.  All other straights are high only.

  • There are two points per round.  To win both points you must win high and low from  your four hands.  One point goes to the high winner, one for low.  Ties high or low yield 1/2 point.
  • Scores are added round to round.  Players pre-determine winning total  (example 10 points is winner and can win with 1/2 point margin, or 10 to 9 and 1/2.)

* Pot per game is preset.  Winner takes all.


Gerald said, “…every now and then the cow eats the butcher!”

Football season is here! Actually it is “money game season”.

You whip us, but you pay us. Say what? Appalachian beats Texas A & M and walks with 1.5 mil! Boone Goons rock. Marshall screwed the system too. Stuff happens.


How many over matched youngsters get hurt in these games? One player said “…our coach would give OUR lives for the school!”

A university’s website proclaims “Every thing we do is first for the good of our students.” Does this include students who play football?

And isn’t there more size and ability variation among 10th graders and high school seniors? 125 pounder vs 270 lbs.


Also: Portals and Potholes and Proximity:

Was it Southern California that recruited twenty plus PORTAL footballers? Does that equate to that many legit freshmen who didn’t get that scholarship/ opportunity? How many times did this happen in all football programs combined? All sports? How many closed doors to the high school class of 2022?

North Carolina football 2022: We don’t need to play any more this year. We can’t beat East Carolina and NC State, or App vs the Tar Heels. Mountaineers over #6.

Makes one wonder about pacific coast teams in the Big Ten.

Radical ideal?–Carolina, State, Duke, Wake Forest, Appachian, and East Carolina all play each other? ps-UNC Charlotte will be ready soon. Western Carolina Univ. No flying required, football or women’s volleyball.


November 6, 2019 I posted an article on gambling and tennis (see below). Less than 3 years later check what percentage of tennis channel advertising is gambling money.

One related item popped up in last week’s news. A tennis chair umpire was charged with illegal manipulating of the scoring device. Go figure!

Better get a toe hold on this.


In 2017 my friend Chuck Kriese, former Clemson tennis coach, asked me to be a panelist at a meeting in Bradenton FL. to deal with the international issue. (I thought).   Coach Kriese has long been an ally on the international issue. There were ten people on the “panel” and I was asked to speak first (see notes). I did so attempting to gain support for tennis scholarships for Americans.

The second speaker startled me and others with his topic. Stripped down, it proposed to bring smaller satellite tournaments for college tennis in America. One panel member questioned where was the financing of these local tournaments coming from? Response: “we already have five million dollars in reserve.” Silence! Who is that sponsor was the question from the floor. I do not remember the name but another panelist replied “that is a gambling outfit in Europe isn’t it?” Yes was the answer. We all seemed a little stunned. And did not bring up the subject through the next several presentations.

As I exited the meeting Coach Kriese stopped me and asked “what do you think?” I was very frank with my friend –“Chuck this is an attempt to bring big time gambling to American College Tennis.” I was then no longer involved with this effort.

Concern for the game,  I reported this development to all involved in American tennis that I thought should be aware. Hardly anyone was aware of such a movement and I worried about overreacting and put my concern aside.

Still it nagged at me. How about the pro who revealed this scenario in the meeting: ”yes, one of my fifteen year old players asked me what to do about that man.”  Why?

“He stopped me on the way to the dressing room and offered me $1500.00 to lose the second set”.

One statistic said the volume of betting on tennis was second only to soccer in Europe.

The light comes on! With the ability to electronically report the current score of a tennis match worldwide was now technologically available to anyone as the official punched in the score. Anybody, tennis knowledgeable or not could place a bet on anything in the game. Second serve a double fault? Total number of games played per match?

Light #2. Gamblers get a 4% vigorish on any bet. The more bets the more 4% flows to management.

Voila. Where can you find the most number of tennis matches played in the world? Europe satellites? Nope. College tennis in America, no where close. Men & women, all divisions. How about Old Dominion’s number four girl against number four from William & Mary?

Will NC’s number two guy win the next point? 4% !

Today’s paper features an article entitled “New Series Seeks A Improved Pathway To Pro’s for US Tennis”.

Did I attend the beginnings of this current attempt? Is this really a “pathway to gambling”?

ORACLE is now the ITA (College Tennis) leading sponsor. All gamblers need now is that score recorder in a college referee’s hands. Worth watching this all develop?



Dr. Jo Watts Williams, beloved matriarch of Elon University,  told me “…children  need time to go looking for lizards.” 

Perhaps author Lightman was making similar points in the concluding parts of his book.  Addressing the modern rapid pace of change  brought on by technology,  he admonishes thusly”:  

Certainly, few people could deny that the new technologies of the “Wired World” have improved life in many ways. Some of the less agreeable symptoms and features of the “Wired World” seem to be:

1. An obsession with speed and an accompanying impatience for all that does not move faster and faster. *

2. A sense of overload with information and other stimulation. Our computers are not only foster but they store more and more data.*

3. A mounting of obsession with consumption and material wealth.*

4. Accommodation to the virtual world. The artificial world of the television screen, the computer monitor, and the cell phone has become so familiar that we often substitute it for real experience.*

5. Loss of silence. We have grown accustomed to a background of machine noise wherever we are. *

6. Loss of privacy. With many of the new communication technologies, we are, in effect, plugged in and connected to the outer world 24 hours a day.*  

 In recent decades, however, this trend has accelerated to a disturbing degree. If we have indeed lost in some measure the quality of slowness, have lost a digestible rate of information, immediate experience with the real world, science, and privacy, what exactly have we lost?

I believe that I have lost something of my inner self. By inner self I mean that part of  me that imagines, that dreams, that explores, that is constantly questioning who I am and what is important to me. My inner self is my true freedom. 

“…the truly important spaces of one’s being cannot be measured in terms of square miles or cubic centimeters. Private space is not a physical space. It is a space of the mind.”

*Substantial additional support comment omitted.


My parents bought their first house in 1961. $13,000. They both lived to 93 years, the last seven in a nursing home. My one sister and I split only the sale of said house.

My first job included basketball coaching and that was when schools first integrated in our area. Our school didn’t have football or women’s varsity sports. Like most similar schools the first black kids we had were athletes, men’s basketball players. Most were the first in their eastern north carolina families to go to college.

The wtiting below comes from WHY TEACH AND COACH?:


You never know who you’re influencing when you coach. The same was
true for teaching in college. Formal classroom or just talking to kids.
A basketball player named Damien Carter appeared in my doorway one
day at Elon. He said he rode up and down I-85 often and had planned to
stop by many times.
He was in his 40s, had been a pretty solid player at Atlantic Christian
College, having transferred from UNC-Wilmington. At Wilmington he
hadn’t played as much as he wanted. The same was true at ACC later on,
and he found his chances of pro ball weren’t going to materialize. He was
about to quit college though his grades were good.
I don’t remember the specific conversation with Damien, but it was one
of fifty I’d had with basketball players.
It went like this:
Are you the first from your family to go to college? Often the answer was
yes. You’re not going to make $100,000 playing pro ball, you understand?
You can get your degree and get a good job. People are looking for athletic
people with degrees.
Your job is to elevate your family and its expectations one generation.
Put your money in compound interest, and expect your children to go
to college.
I agreed with Damien that was the gist of what I advised the “first kids.”
Damien smiled and added, “Coach, my two daughters have college
degrees, and I’ve got a million bucks in the bank!” Compound interest.


What I inherited from parents wasn’t material. Nor did I select a high paying job. We all valued education. Both of our son’s have done well. They have advanced our family a generation. And at age 82, and along with my wife, we may be able to help others. Even Warren Buffett limited his kids, reasoning it made it dangerous to give them too much.

I do feel good about the gifts a teacher /coach can give. Later in retirement I stumbled on “hobby writing” . Recently I have all the good advice I have free online. i have tried to “leave it all on the field (or court)”