I've been told by a regular at the courts that Southwark Council
has paid a visit to the courts and they've asked people whether they feel the current unregulated system works.
The general consensus is that it does. And I would agree, for the time being anyways... On occasion, some assertive diplomatic persuasion is required :) Anyways, as a result of the official questioning, the council has apparently decided to keep it a free facility.
However, it was added that the council will monitor the situation to see if the system is being abused.
The system is occasionally abused by some, especially during the weekends, and it's generally with people who can't even hit the ball, who talk statistical tennis and federer vs sampras etc. So, it just makes the wait even more painful. To be forced to watch their panzee dance.
Many people do question the validity of Dennis, the coach's permission to use the courts, as he's never shown anybody any proof. Well, none that I know of. A LOT of people complain about him, but not to him directly as he's told me himself that nobody ever complains to him. So I guess they just mumble to others on the bench  Everyone knows who he is. But yeah, he can be on there for hours in the weekends.
The summer weekends have in particular been very bad. The groups who horde the courts and alternate with their friends (all crap players I might add).... do push their luck.
In most cases, I feel people only have themselves to blame, as it's a cultural given that British people don't complain about anything. To just sit and patiently wait in life for something to happen doesn't make anything happen, unless you make it happen yourself.
All it takes is to politely ask people how long they're going to be and they'll usually give you a time. If they don't, get them to give you a reasonable one. If they're unfamiliar with the unofficial rule of 1 hour on and off... again, it doesn't take much to let them know, as it's only fair on everyone, especially if there are a lot of people waiting. Maybe I should print and laminate these wise words to then stick it on the court gates haha.
You'd think its common sense, but 90% of people don't say aaaaanything. And when someone does take the imitative to say something, then a bunch of people come up to you in stealth ninja mode and argue to say they're on before you when you have no idea where they've come from. Why the hell are you hiding in the dustbin or under the grass covered trap door then? Stupid people.
I've asked people why it is that they think people don't say something. In most cases people fear being either verbally abused or want to avoid the risk of kicking off an argument. Those people will sit and wait for hours and hours. Cue Louis Armstrong.
Some have reported seeing loud verbal fights kicking off... yes, unfortunately it does occasionally happen, but it's rare. This is only as a result of stupid people who say stupid things.
Stupid people hiding, stupid people not coming off, stupid people not saying anything, stupid people everywhere. Stupid :)
As for people who push in front of kids, uh oh, more stupid people.. They deserve the same. Or have their heads stuck into the doggy litter bin. It can be arranged :) Theres a young brother and sister who play there regularly, they've had problems too.
If I'm waiting, and you've been on for more than an hour, either me or my friends will be kicking you off in one way or another muhaha.
You do get your freaks who do some weeeeeeird things though. Eg. I've had people try waiting ON my court whilst I'm playing and climbing up and down the fence to ease the boredom (peopel in their early 30's,not kids). To then throw a strop when I ask them to go sit on the bench outside, then they refuse to leave. If it takes a 110mph+ serve accidentally coming toward your forehead to get you off the court, then so be it :)
I wonder how public liability insurance is worded for death by tennis ball?
Happy tennis everyone :)