Guidelines For The New Season

May 14th, 2023

Hey Everybody, we're starting up the Summer 2023 season. Some of the teams started last week and others will start next week. I'm writing this on Mother's Day, one of only a couple days of the year on which we have never had a game. As I have always said, Nobody really gives a crap about Father's Day, but Mother's Day is sacred. We have actually had evening games on Easter Sunday before. One time, due to a gym-usage situation, we had games on Christmas Eve Day and New Year's Eve Day (but never on Christmas or New Year's). 

This year, we took Easter Sunday off and then today, Mother's Day. We will now go straight through to the end of August, when the venue resurfaces the floors and it takes a week or two for the floor to cure during the humid season. After that, we go straight through to Thanksgiving. We take that Sunday off, then the two Sundays during the holidays and then we're right back at it. I mentioned to somebody last week that in 35 years, I have never missed a Sunday. There is a serious debate as to whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

There are a couple matters that must be addressed in order for this to be a great season. One is that we have a large number of teams. This is always appreciated, but it presents scheduling problems. I'm asking you to bear with us during the month of May. We will have a large number of games next week (the 21st), but there is a youth tournament on the 28th and we will not have games that morning. Club volleyball will be ending soon. When we get into June andf July, we will have several days on which EVERY TEAM in the league will play. That means NO BYES! It's going to be great.

The other matter is more serious. There has been a noticeable decline in the overall decorum in the League. The worst period in the history of the TBL was obviously during the pandemic. Like everything else in America, we came to a screeching halt in March of 2020 and it was well over a year before we were able to return to the courts. I remember that everybody was so happy that we were playing ball again that the sportsmanship was exemplary across the board. There was no lame-ass bravado, no shit-talking, nothing but the joy of playing ball. 

That has started to slip a bit. It's a minor thing right now, but left unaddressed, it could become major...and that ain't happening!

I have always told new teams that the philosopher Henry David Thoreau said that "The Mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." I have always taken that to mean that a lot of guys have a crappy week where their home life if going badly and their job sucks, so they come to the gym and try to take out a week's worth of frustration in one hour. That is not why we're here. There are a few guidelines that you must follow or you will find yourself playing outdoors. They include:

--LEAVE THE SCOREKEEPERS ALONE!!!! These are high-school kids and they are doing the best they can. If you have a problem with the score or something, talk to the refs. They'll stop the game and make sure everything is right. You yell at a scorekeeper once, you're out of the game. Do it again, you're out of the League. Man up, for God's sake!

--LEAVE THE MACHO NONSENSE AT HOME. It's really lame; 98% of the players show up, play ball, have some fun, and then go home tired and happy. Then there's that small group who think that their manhood is being tested. I was reffing a game a few weeks ago and this guy is pushing and shoving and mean mugging. In my cordial manner, I asked "What the hell's wrong with you? Why do you act like that?"

With a straight face, he said, "That's part of my game." To which I replied, "Then your game sucks ass." That guy will not be in the League this season.

--IF YOU'RE GOING TO RUN YOUR MOUTH, RESPECT THE BOUNDARIES AND DON'T EMBARRASS YOURSELF. Recently, one of the best players in the League (a guy who has played professionally in Europe) got the ball on the wing, made a great first step, drove the baseline, and dunked with two hands. Some guy on the other team yelled "He's mediocre A.F." The Talker's teammates all looked at him like he had brain damage.

We are going to be cracking down this season. We are not going to let a handful of individuals (or teams) ruin it for everybody. This is your only warning.