For years, my husband and I have had an ongoing debate about tennis and its spectator silence rules. He doesn’t understand why there is no cheering during points, why the crowd can’t yell at the exact moment the server is going to hit the ball in an attempt to break concentration and foil an ace, like fans do during free throws at basketball games. I understand where he’s coming from, but as someone who grew up playing tennis, I feel a loyalty to the sport and its unwritten rules, as important or ridiculous as they may be.
“Tennis requires great concentration,“ I always tell him. “And a quiet stadium is part of the tradition. Besides, it’s cool to hear the sound of the racquets hitting the ball.”
“And shooting a basketball through a hoop from 15 feet away doesn’t require focus?” is the usual retaliation, along with a diatribe about why the “tradition” is B.S. (But he never argues about it sounding cool.)
Okay, I get it. And to be totally honest, sometimes I think it would be kind of fun to hear the crowd go crazy or see how a player handles some good heckling.
Well, apparently we can. Because the World TeamTennis Pro League brings its own set of rules to the court with a different match format (games are no-ad and count toward the overall team score) and different fan rules (cheer as loud and heckle as much as you want).
The WTT Pro League has been around for 35 years (Philadelphia’s team, the Freedoms, actually inspired Elton John’s famous song. Who knew?), but if you haven’t really heard of it, that’s probably because DC didn’t have it’s own team until 2008. The Washington Kastles are the newest franchise to the league, but they are off to a great start as the reigning 2009 champions. That’s not surprising when you hear Serena Williams, one of the most exciting womens players ever, was on the team. And good news: this year Venus is joining her.
The 2010 WTT season begins next week, July 5, and continues for three weeks until July 25. The Washington Kastles’ first home match is July 6 against the Freedoms. All home matches take place at Kastles Stadium at City Center, 11th and H Streets NW. I can’t vouch for it myself, as I haven’t yet been to a match, but according to Yelp reviews, it’s a really good time. And, of course, something the whole family can enjoy. Tickets start at $15, and So What’s the Deal currently has several promotions going on for tickets at various prices.
So, if Wimbledon has you and the kids excited about tennis, or you’re looking for a new sports team to support now that the US is out of the World Cup, or if your family just wants to do something different, go check out the Kastles.
And cheer as loud as you want.