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A letter from Atwater to the University Intramural Office concerning Tennis           

Dear State U Intramural Office:

I call myself Commander Atwater and am writing because I have some serious concerns about your intramural tennis program that I would like to address. First of all, as you can see from the picture at right, I have purchased a new tennis suit that I had hoped to wear in this year's tournament. I participated last year, both semesters (wearing a different get up with more blue in it and stripes on the trousers during the first campaign and a red sailor ensemble for the spring session). Just to make my position clear at the outset, I would refer to myself an enthusiast of the game and write under those parameters. It follows then that I would like to play this semester as well. Unfortunately, my new white suit may not see the light of day as I found out the hard way that I missed the deadline to sign up for the tournament yesterday, only a few hours after the orientation meeting had convened. I am very disappointed that I was not able to sign up in time but was not aware as to when the tournament was going to begin. I was relying on the higher ups running the Intramural Office website to get information out about the new sign-up dates. As of this evening, when I last checked, the sign-up dates continued to advertise last spring's tournament. I had assumed that the website for intramurals would be updated to reflect the new sign-up dates once they had been determined but instead they have continued to show information from last spring well into this fall. I stopped by the gym yesterday evening to see about when the tournament would begin and found that the new brochure was out and that I had missed the dates to sign up for it. I'm very disappointed because I was relying on the website to give me the new information. As a professor here I am unable to go to the gym every day to check for a new brochure, and as you can imagine, the first weeks of school are always the busiest for me. Furthermore, as a professor, not a student, I cannot find out about information regarding intramurals through word-of-mouth as most of the students do.

The main reason for my communiqué however is that I just spoke with one of your minions, who claimed to be the new tennis coordinator, about my concerns. He indicated that he would be unable to change the schedule to allow me to enter since everything has already been plotted out and besides, he didn't like the sound of my voice. Now I know that this is not really the case, since, for one thing people tell me I am quite mellifluous and a fine orator despite my "weird" American accent. I also happen to know that the first round is a round-robin format and there most likely is room to add someone into a draw that doesn't contain seedings and is single elimination. I must stress that while I like to win at tennis just as everyone else does, my real interest is simply in playing the game competitively during the semester and that the intramural format is a good one for that end. I also spoke to the same joker about the website not being updated and suggested posting the intramural sign-ups in an ad in the school newspaper as a good way to advertise the intramural tournaments. I mentioned that, at the very least, he should have posted a sign on the website to say to those aware of the tournament to come to the gym to sign up and taken down last semester's information.

Well, evidently your guy did not appreciate my suggestions, which were only made to assist the organizers in holding a tournament to accommodate as many people who want to play as possible. His response was that he does not go to my classroom to tell me how to teach my students. Now this type of retort from a student to a professor is an immature one and completely uncalled for not to mention indicative of what's wrong with America today. It also happens to be false since indeed my students do evaluate my performance at the end of every semester so I do get feedback not to mention anyone can go to or Ratings Online and log in a comment for the whole world to see. I don't know what sort of experience that this youngster has with running an intramural tournament, nor do I know what sort of support he has in setting up the schedule but I don't think that one needs to have much, if any. I'm pretty sure I could make one up on a bar napkin and run an entire tournament with some paint and old sheets out in the faculty parking lot. Whether or not he wants to, I also believe it is important that he takes the time to either learn how to post information on the Internet site or to get someone else to do it for him. If, as he says, he did not have ITS clearance until very recently, he could have consulted someone else with access to the site to post the schedule. In any case, I do urge him to take my advice in the future, because I know that it would benefit him as well as the entire department given the fact that they collect $8 from every participant.

And since I'm on the subject, I would also like to bring to your attention that last semester's tennis tournament was not completed due to more mismanagement by the former coordinator. At the end of the semester I received a call from him telling me who I was to play in the playoff section and that I was to complete the match, in addition to playing the winner of the other semi-final match, within a week's time. While I completed my match, won it, and called the other players to find out who was the winner and to schedule the final, I learned that the other opponents had not yet played. I called the former coordinator, left an answer on his extension, regarding this problem but never received a return call. I still do not know what became of the other players, or of your employee for that matter. If you could look into this and perhaps declare me winner in the event others forfeited I would appreciate it.

I understand that intramurals are by their very nature informal activities, and I enjoy that aspect of it. They are to be played by people who like the game and the majority of the responsibilities should be on the player's, not the coordinator's, shoulders. However, I'm sure that you agree that the website should be posted and updated to reflect the fall semester's schedule, just as I'm sure that you agree that the coordinators should not disappear, never to be heard from again. I suspect that while they are not paid well, these coordinators are paid something to be present there and to set up matches, post schedules and officiate when necessary, all of which would fall under the description of "light" duty."

I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter. Looking at last year's draw I see that you, too, in fact participated in the intramural tournament and therefore probably like to play tennis. I'm always looking for partners (this is the reason why I sign up to play in the intramurals). It's the only place I know of in this god forsaken hell hole that has any tennis activities. Perhaps you'd like to hit with me sometime provided you can follow a simple schedule, arrange a meeting, and show up in appropriate attire.


Commander Atwater - Professor here on campus.


Link to original story about The Atwaters

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