| By Eric Meditz

Growing up on Long Island, I had a reputation that I was a good tennis player. Much like many people with similar reputations, I was asked constantly throughout the summers of my youth if I could participate in Member/Guest Country Club Tournaments all throughout the area. For those of you who don’t know what they are, they are these tennis events where insecure male country club members go out and try to bring in the best doubles partner they can find. Then when play starts, the member stands 3-ft. off to the side of the doubles line and their guest goes out and tries to do all the winning. Occasionally throughout a match, the member puts away an easy overhead because of their guest’s efforts. This is usually followed by everyone making a big deal that the member hit one of the best shots anyone has ever seen. Now I know this all sounds pretty bizarre, and an outsider who never heard of Member/Guest Tennis Tournaments probably would have a tough time comprehending all of this lunacy, but for me, this filled many weekends of my summers growing up. Despite all of this, I always accepted this dysfunction for what it was and enjoyed the free meal that usually accompanied it. But there was one thing that always left a bad taste in my mouth.

Many times after I accepted the invitation to participate as a guest in one of these tournaments, the member who invited me to play casually mentions in passing, “Oh, by the way, when you show up on Saturday, you have to wear all white … and also a collared shirt.”

Copyright: Getty Images/Credit: Comstock ImagesFor some reason, a lot of tennis clubs force the people who are playing on their courts to wear all white. Even if you are going on the court to hit for 15 sec., you have to be decked out in gleaming white gear. For as long as I can remember, I never understood the purpose of wearing all white. What does a clothing color have to do with anything?

Now when I hear that I have to wear all white along with a collared shirt at a Member/Guest Tennis Tournament, I then have to go through cardboard boxes in my parent’s attic to find something I can conjure up. And we all know that there is no way in hell I’m going to buy anything in the country club pro shop to satisfy these people’s sick rules. So I see what I have in the attic, and it’s usually along the lines of something that would have fit me and was fashionable when I was 12-years-old.

You can always tell who the guests are because they are in the absurdly tight tennis clothes from years past that either say, “Ellesse” or “The Lendl Collection” on the side of the sleeve. The reason why we do this is because we don’t want to spend any money on new white collared tennis shirts and white shorts that they will never wear again.

Nowadays, if you walk around society wearing all white, people will think that something is wrong with you, or that you are a mental patient trying to make a run for it. And to tell you the truth, I have enough problems at this point of my life trying to make people think otherwise without wearing white.

Because I was so perplexed by this stupid “wearing all white” rule, I once asked a head pro what the reasoning was behind it. The answer he gave me was that it’s about the integrity of the game, and that it’s about sustaining a tradition from when they played centuries ago.

Integrity? Tradition? In the past, tennis was just played by kings, queens and elitist snobs … why would we want to maintain a tradition for those people? Also, and if I’m not mistaken, weren’t these the same people who were giving William Wallace such a hard time in Braveheart? I hated those guys!

If tradition is their reasoning for forcing us to wear all white, then why don’t we just bring back the plague or behead court jesters if their jokes aren’t funny. If we want to sustain a tradition from that period of time, wouldn’t these things make just as much sense?

Personally, I refuse to keep any traditions alive from people who were too stupid to figure out that it is 95 degrees out and they’re wearing pants and a sweater vest on top of another sweater vest. Doing some research on this topic, I found out that is was only until 1929 when Rene Lacoste finally spoke up and said, “Hey, maybe it is too damn hot out to play tennis and to be dressed like we are attending a wedding in Northern Alaska … maybe we should just wear short sleeves and more comfortable shirts.”

The bottom line is that all country clubs need to get rid of this “all white” rule. To tell people what color clothes they have to wear when they are running after a ball hit by a stick couldn’t sound any dumber. You see, these are the rules that gave tennis an elitist reputation for many years and we should be trying to get rid of them. Tennis nowadays should be about building a new reputation … one that is enjoyed by anyone who wants to make an attempt at playing it … even the people who have the nerve to wear blue shorts with a yellow shirt.

Eric Meditz

<p>Tennis Pro Eric Meditz may be reached by e-mail at meditzisfunny@yahoo.com</p>