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Dale - Lake Worth, FL | Read Dale's Second Entry

An old doubles partner of mine once told me that an apple is only as red as its core. When I pointed out to him that this statement makes no sense whatsoever, he changed it to"An apple is only as red as its core is good." Although I didn't fully understand that one either, I would nevertheless make it the basis of my job as tennis commissioner. What I mean is that I would get to the core of all the sport's ailments.

I'm referring, of course, to tennis parents.

What would I do about them? Well, I haven't worked out all the details yet, but I would begin with the following pronouncements.
  • Parents who loudly cheer the unforced errors of their kids' opponents would be subjected to one full day with Jim Pierce following them around, pointing out all their slip-ups ("Hey genius! Try dialing the correct number this time!").
  • Those who attempt to officiate matches from eighty feet away (due to an unwavering certainty that their kid's opponent is missing crucial line calls) would get their next physical from a doctor who puts a rubber glove not over his index finger, but on the handle of a Wilson Hammer H1.
  • The next one of my cohorts who illegally coaches his child during a"bathroom break" must forego all future tournaments until he can adequately explain why nature calls only when his kid is losing.
  • Anyone who screams at volunteer tournament officials would be forced to chug a pitcher of cold espresso, then fly from Key Biscayne to Roland Garros stuffed in a ball hamper.
  • Those who threaten or actually engage in violence in order to balance injustices occurring on the tennis court (read: their child losing) would have the kid's next match officiated by the defensive line of the Chicago Bears. In the event that they are unavailable, real bears can serve as an adequate replacement.
  • Parents who stand idly by while their kids yell out the wrong score, argue calls after their shots land in a different area code, or claim points because their opponent's"Out!" call came more than half a millisecond after the ball landed would be taught the meaning of the word "sportsmanship" by Stefan Edberg. On second thought, let's just put lunchmeat in their pants and release the hyenas.
  • And finally, parents need to stop telling me how young their kids are (after which, I guess, I'm supposed to respond,"Wow, he's only ten? Oh, I'm sorry-he JUST TURNED ten? He plays like some, uh, ten and a half year olds I've seen!"). Anyone who continues to do this would be forced to play 4 rounds of Jeopardy, on national television, with an ACTUAL child genius.
Yes, all of my acts as commissioner would involve tennis parents, but, again, this is by design. Get them in line and my guess is that the rest of the apple will quickly redden (or however that works).