What is the USTA Tennislink Team? Glad you asked. We are a support team for USTA National and Sectional Coordinators, for tournament directors, coaches, captains, Local Tennis Organizers, and players. The 7 applications we are responsible for are Leagues, NTRP Ratings, Tournaments, Rankings, TDM (Tournament Data Manager software), Flex Leagues, and Team Tennis. The suite of applications is generally known as Tennislink.
In my role of Team Lead and Product Manager for USTA Leagues and Ratings I answer questions on a daily basis, help improve the League experience, and train USTA Coordinators throughout the country on site or via Webinars. I also get to interact with some fine individuals who run the League operations at Section level (Section League Coordinators), at USTA National level, and on the oversight group for NTRP Ratings. Pretty good stuff, these are all very knowledgeable individuals who have one goal in common: Grow the sport of tennis everywhere!
You thought working on the USTA Tennislink Team is all work and no fun? Well, think again. We have had some very funny moments in the past and I want to share a few with you.
Little Old Tournament Director
This lady called our TDM Hotline, explaining she is a Tournament Director, and proceeded to describe the problems she's having making the draws for her tournament in TDM. After about two minutes of talking in a very low voice and quite composed, she'd had enough, said "Oh, f***", and slammed down the phone. Boy, we cracked up listening to that call. I don't ever want to be on that women's bad side...
Flex League Match Time
This player e-mailed us giving us just his name, no more information. I assumed it was Flex Leagues because he was talking about his opponent, obviously a singles match. He just wrote: "I can't play tomorrow. Can you please inform my opponent?"
Yep, we know everyone's opponents (and partners) and when and where they play on any given day. With half a million players in the system, an impossible task, don't you think?
Another TDM Hotline call. Unfortunately we don't know a lot about this lady because she didn't leave a message. She just dialed the number, waited a few seconds before she spoke, and than said only one word in a high pitched, pleading kind of way: "Help...". Then she hung up. Wow, this woman was desperate and we wanted so much to help her...
The Unknown Tennis Player
This is by far my favorite e-mail. Various players have e-mailed us with essentially the same question over the years. What do we know about this person? Nothing but an email address. He/she doesn't reveal a name or an address. Heck he/she doesn't even put a subject line in that e-mail. All it reads is: When is my match tomorrow?
Hu? I have to assume this is a tournament player, just because Leaguers are not that dum! Even the youngsters playing Jr. Team Tennis are much too smart to ask such a question. They would know on any given weekend there are hundreds of tournaments with thousands of matches involving tens of thousands of players. Get the picture?
During onsite trainings I often see that people have no real concept about Active and its role in their tennis world. "Are you the people who bought the USTA?" was pretty funny, don't you think. No, dear, I don't think your parent organization is for sale. When people sometimes think Active is a new outfit with 50 computer nerds and a dream location (San Diego) I have to smile. Heck, when I started with Active 2 1/2 years ago we were 300 people or so. Today, we are over 3,000 and have representation in 25 + countries. Hallelujah, can you spell "fastest growing technology company in the sports participation business"?
Other people ask me if I could repair their PC since I am "...one of those technology gurus". What? Me? My darn video recorder showed a flashing 12:00 for all its life. The reason why my DVD player doesn't do that? It doesn't have a clock, thank God!
The Coordinator who asked me to tell her how to run Tennislink on her '87 Mac Plus was just joking, I guess. However, she was quite happy when I pointed her to a web site that shows how to turn a Macintosh computer (incl. Mac Plus) into an Aquarium:
Pretty funny, eh?