Posts Tagged ‘GLTF’
Memorial Day Weekend in San Francisco can only mean one thing: hundreds of LGBT tennis players descending on the city, then driving down to Stanford’s Taube Tennis Stadium for a weekend of tennis, fun, and sun.
Hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation (GLTF) of the San Francisco Bay Area, the United States Gay Open (USGO) is one of the largest LGBT tennis tournaments in the world. That’s an incredible feat given that the GLTF is an entirely volunteer organization. The logistics of (successfully) pulling off an event of this magnitude can be daunting for paid professionals, let alone a GLTF member volunteer.
Speaking from past experience as director for the ’04 USGO, the best plan of attack is to surround yourself with great people. In that vein, this year’s USGO is in the very capable hands of tournament director Michele Yin, along with her triumvirate of co-directors Craig Sabol, Larissa Ivanoff, and Lynne Riedesel. Gordon Crenshaw is the tournament’s World Team Tennis Coordinator.
Michele and her crew have been hard at work for the past several months planning and executing a great weekend for all in San Francisco and Palo Alto. The final week before the tournament is the craziest time for any director, but I managed to grab Michele for a quick Q&A. Thankfully, she was only partially-crazed, and extremely gracious with her time and responses.
How long have you been a member of the GLTF? Were you involved on the board prior to becoming the USGO tournament director?
I joined the GLTF in 2008. Shortly after joining, I was recruited to finish out the year as the board secretary. I stayed on the board for another year and took on the communications director role.
(When I hear someone say “recruited” with respect to the GLTF Board of Directors, I immediately think “railroaded”. – SFTF)
Why did you decide to take on the challenge of the USGO?
I really enjoy project management — working with a team of people with varied responsibilities towards a common objective with a very concrete result. The challenges of setting budgets, meeting deadlines, and forging relationships — I enjoy all of that.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of running such a large tournament?
I’m really excited to produce an athletic event that draws people from all over. Although I participated as a player in 2010 and 2011, I came in pretty ignorant about what it takes to run this event, so there’s been a huge of amount of learning, too.
Conversely, what’s been the most challenging aspect?
Considering that the GLTF is 100% volunteer-run, it’s a constant challenge to balance my project urgencies with others’ personal priorities. Respecting the people and the time and energy they devote to the GLTF (and, specifically, to the USGO) is hugely important to me. I also hope that I’m not burning folks out.
For those not familiar with the USGO (United States Gay Open), can you give me a quick rundown on the tournament (number of events, participants, etc.)?
This year’s USGO has 229 players (men and women) registered in 18 events, ranging from Open Singles to a World Team Tennis format event. Most of the participants are from the United States, but the tournament also has international entrants from Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, and Italy; even as far away as New Zealand. You can find the tournament online at http://glta.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/tournament.aspx?id=8AAB5060-327C-4BD7-8EEA-025D9555B450.
What are the highlights of the 2013 tournament?
We decided to cap registration this year to ensure that everyone plays at Stanford (versus a secondary location), and we hit capacity! We’ve got some great venues for our social events — one of which is in Oakland (recently named “most exciting city in America”). Also, we gathered some pretty incredible donations for our raffle and sweet (the lesbian travel company) donated a concierge suite at their luxury resort on the Mexican Riviera which we’re auctioning off. It will be exciting to be able to once again make a charitable donation to East Palo Alto tennis and tutoring, our official beneficiary.
What’s been your funniest moment as the tournament director?
Hmm… a funny moment? I’m struggling to remember one. It’s definitely been a largely positive experience for me. This might be a good to one to ask for the post-USGO piece.
Last question, what have you learned about yourself from taking on such a huge endeavor as the USGO?
I’ve learned that I was probably crazy last July when I said yes to becoming the USGO director. I’ve also learned how fortunate I am to have an excellent planning team and a dedicated board of directors working with me to present what I think will be a really great event.
Check back with me Monday night. : -)
Thanks Michele, and “Good Luck” to all of the tournament participants! The USGO runs from May 24-27 at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center.
For information on the GLTF, go to: http://gltf.org/.
For information on the USGO, go to: http://gltf.org/usgo.
Location: San Francisco State University
Conditions: Outdoors, overcast, cool, humid
Doubles or Singles Played: Doubles
Match Result: 6-1 6-2 Loss
Season Record: 2-3
Match Notes: Lost a tough one today in doubles 1 and 2. The fact that we were out there a long time for that score doesn’t make me feel any better about the loss. I didn’t play badly, but I certainly didn’t play well enough to combat the seasoned doubles play of my opponents.
My partner for today’s match was Tom, a teammate I haven’t partnered with this season. He was solid, and we got along well (he’s a very nice guy), but a new partnership is almost always at a disadvantage against teams that have played together previously: like our opponents. (I hope we get a chance to play again before the season is over.)
Also, I hadn’t played since last week’s match, and I could definitely have benefitted from a midweek hit. That wasn’t possible after getting a mild case of food poisoning. I pretty much just had to chill most of the week. But since tennis is a game of familiarity and feel, I wasn’t as on top of my game today as I could have been, and it showed. Especially on my serve.
My groundstrokes were decent: forehand more so than backhand. The main issue today was my serve. There were no “Sharapova” moments like last week, but it was still a mediocre service day. I couldn’t get it out wide when I needed, and didn’t put nearly enough first serves into play. I held 2 of 4 times at the service line, and that’s not nearly good enough at the 4.0 level to get the job done.
Earlier this season, one of my teammates and I talked about the need to play at least 2-3 times a week in order to be ready to compete at this level. I did that heading into last week’s match and came out with a win. I wasn’t able to this week and came away with a loss.
Midweek practice might not necessarily have produced a win, but it sure would have made my overall game a lot tidier today.
(Fourth match in the documentation of my 2013 USTA Adult League season)
Location: San Francisco State University
Conditions: 60-65, overcast and windy
Doubles or Singles Played: Doubles
Personal Match Result: 6-3 6-2 Win
Team Match Result: 2-3 Loss
Personal Season Record: 2-2
Match Notes: After the slice and dice nightmare of last weekend at SFTC, I made a return to winning ways in today’s doubles match with my partner Eddie. Conditions were mostly fine in spite of a few sprinkles. Temperature was pretty mild, and the early winds died down as the match progressed.
I played doubles with my buddy Eddie, a tricky lefty who hits with almost as much spin as Rafa (j/k, but only slightly). He’s solid on both sides with lefty spin and an ability to work crafty angles. He’s also aggressive at the net (which makes my life easier when serving). With his strong lefty game and my pace, we’re a formidable team if we execute well.
Our opponents were decent players. One had great hands at the net and came in whenever possible. The other was okay from the baseline with a strong serve, but prone to to mishits if pressured. It was a little hard to gauge how we would match up at first, but I felt pretty good about our chances.
After falling behind 1-3, we pretty much steamrolled through the match. Between my pace and Eddie’s spin, they had a difficult time with our groundstrokes. And though the one guy had great hands on his volleys, there’s not much he could do if we hit at his feet or passed him.
Mentally I stayed calm/relaxed throughout, and all aspects of my game felt good. FH crosscourt returns were blazing, down the line were untouchable, BH slice was on, and the serve was working well. My only blip, and it was a big one, was a horrific service game to start the second set. I “pulled a Maria”, double-faulting 4 times to give them a one game headstart.
What can I say? Since shoulder surgery, it occasionally happens. Eddie didn’t walk off the court in disgust, though, so I knew we’d be okay.
I understand, Maria, really I do!
My 2013 USTA Chronicles: Match #3 versus SFTC (or “Let Me Count the Ways I Hate Slice and Dice Tennis”)
Location: San Francisco Tennis Club
Doubles or Singles Played: Singles
Personal Match Result: 6-2 6-1 Loss
Team Match Result: 1-4 Loss
Personal Season Record: 1-2
Match Notes: Indoor conditions were at SFTC fine. It was a warm day in SF, so indoors was a little warm and humid. But that had no bearing on my match, which I can only refer to as a “Slice and Dice” tennis nightmare.
Physically, I felt fine. Mentally, I was miserable after the first few games. I kept telling myself to keep positive, but it was tough because I hate playing matches like this. Always have, and probably always will. I know I shouldn’t joke about gun violence, but all I could think was “Someone please shoot me” with each passing game.
Almost every one of my opponent’s shots landed short, with little to moderate pace and tons of spin. This applied to his serve as well as his groundstrokes. I shanked short balls all over the court, struggling to find a consistent rhythm on my ground game. He wasn’t a bad guy, but his Cuisinart game (and some tight calls on balls before they landed) annoyed and frustrated me from start to finish. I hit a couple of nice shots and service returns, but not enough to get anything going or change the outcome.
Though I was miserable dealing with his unorthodox game, I won’t resort to saying, “I wish he would play ‘real’ tennis” like I’ve heard others say in the same situation. It’s not my opponent’s job to hit balls that are easy for me to tee off on. It’s my job to adapt my game to the situation. I just wish I’d had the patience to do that.
Going forward, I’m sticking with doubles. I realize that dealing with opponents like this one is part of the challenge for singles, but it’s a challenge that holds little interest for me these days. Singles will now be relegated to the practice courts with friends.
The one positive I did take from this match was a successful demo of the new Graphene Head Speed Pro. I started the match with it, but switched back to my regular (and more familiar) Head Speed MP 315 after falling behind 2-5 in the first set. (I should note that I won fewer games with my ‘familiar’ racquet after the switch.) It felt good. Stay tuned for the racquet review later this week.
For many of its’ members, the GLTF of San Francisco is more than just a recreational tennis league. It’s a place where many of us cultivate deep friendships that, in many ways, become our families.
It’s in this spirit that I’m saddened to write about the passing of Thomas (Tom) Pugh. I asked Jason Atwater, a current GLTF’er and one of Tom’s many SF friends, to send me a little something to share with everyone.
This is from Jason:
It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of a beloved former GLTF member, Thomas Pugh. Tom fought bravely against his lymphoma, but lost the battle when it claimed his life on Sunday April 21, 2013.
Tom had a great love for all things tennis, and was a very active member of the GLTF during his time in San Francisco. He served on its’ board of directors, and even captained several 3.5 and 4.0 teams before he and his partner relocated to the bright lights/big city dreams of NYC.
Those who played tennis with Tom knew that he had a wickedly fast serve, and an even more wicked sense of humor. I’m certain that somewhere out there, Tom is making the other angels laugh their wings off as he serves up aces on a heavenly court.
Tom is survived by his loving partner Michael Artura, his sister Karen, and his parents, Patricia and Jerry Pugh. A local memorial service is being planned and info is forthcoming.
Jason’s turning his grief into activism by running a half marathon in Tom’s honor at the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon & Half Marathon. His fundraising page is called “Running for Tom P“, and proceeds will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You can help Jason’s fundraising efforts by clicking this link to make your donation: http://pages.teamintraining.org/gba/nikesf13/running4TomP.