Addendum: The statement below, which says that I was certain there was one illegal player (Silver replacing Mike) but not certain about the other player is being declared "inconsistent" with our Captain's statement that said simply that we knew one player was illegal. We have to "dumb down" the statement to remove all doubt, they say. It's been insinuated that Bryan Leiker is sticking to his story that Mike played the match. Ha. It's funny now. Their fate is easy to predict. See character.
The Westlake 4.5 men's team deliberately cheated in a USTA tennis match.
David and I played the number one doubles position. We introduced ourselves to our opponents and they introduced themselves as "Chris" and "Mikey, but you can call me Mike". I wouldn't have recognized either of them had they jumped out of my breakfast cereal. However, David recognized "Mike" as a player named Silver Ramirez (from the mixed doubles league). Only then did I recognize him. Later we learned that nobody on Westlake's active roster was named "Chris" and we were never certain if the player whose name they entered on the scorecard (Jan Selander) was Chris. The illegal team, Chris and Silver, were "sacrificed" at the number one doubles position (on this day they played at a high 4.0 level).
When David recognized Silver and told him so, Silver didn't confirm nor deny his real name, he shrugged and said "it doesn't matter, you'll beat us easily anyway." Historical note: nobody has ever said that to me. I thought he was predicting that our team would beat their team easily. Since Silver didn't make a clear confession (and neither did his partner whom was overhearing all this) we were only 95% certain we were correct. Just like calling a ball near the sideline on your side, 95% certain your opponent has fouled is not enough. So we didn't stop the match and ask for I.D.s.
Then the match started. I can identify more players by their strokes and movement then by their faces. If I see a tennis player on the street and I don't remember his name I am always tempted to ask him to show me his service motion. After seeing Mike/Silver's strokes my certainty that Mike was Silver went up to 99%.
Then within a few minutes "1% Mike/ 99% Silver" made an unforced error and shouted at himself in a chastising tone: "Silver!" Now I was 100% certain. He repeated this 2-3 other times.
After the first time Silver referred to himself as Silver, I began referring to him as "Silver" (eg: "Nice shot, Silver") (note: I wasn't trying to make a point about his name. In every match I use my opponent's name to acknowledge good shots they make. Every match.) Silver always responded politely with "thank you."
Apparently all the members on the Westlake team were aware of the substitution. We played on the court nearest the clubhouse and when the other Westlake players finished and were watching us, they cheered "Let's go, Mike" etc. in comical voice tones, usually followed with laughing. They continued to do this even as both Silver and I referred to Silver by his given name. It was just a joke to them.
Did they all approve? Did Mike (the player whom Silver replaced) approve? Or was it assumed he didn't care?
Now for a few of the ramifications of their cheating:
1. It sets the bar low for what is "fair" in our league. They cheated to win
a match. If there are degrees of slimy behavior, their move rates a high mark.
They had other choices. 1. Not be slimy: Forfeit a match and play the number 3
doubles team for fun. 2. Be simply slimy: play the illegal players at the #3
doubles position. 3. They choose supremely slimy: Throw off all the teams and
sacrifice the illegal players at the number 1 doubles.
The icing on this slime cake was that "Chris" was not a joy to play against.
He got angry with his performance. He threw racquets, he hit a tennis ball hard
in my direction when I was facing him 15 feet away, he hit a ball in frustration
over the fence into the street, and walked off the court unannounced for 5
minutes (I never knew why). In retrospect this strikes me as odd. When I was
growing up I lived in a town with suspected Mafia members. They were exemplary
neighbors. If you kicked over their trash cans they would smile and wish you a
pleasant day. The theory was that people who are doing something illegal work
very hard to avoid drawing attention to themselves.
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Now, most importantly, someone owes me a beer.
Today's Date: 05/08/2008 7:58 pm EST