Outside of the tennis courts, while the girls tennis team was playing its matches against Homestead HS on Sept. 22, the HHS coach approached MVHS coach Lu Tang and demanded that four MVHS players forfeit their matches because they weren’t wearing their uniforms. The HHS coach cited league rules, saying that any player not wearing the school uniform must forfeit their match. But, according to sophomore Leslie Ligier, last year many teams did not play with uniforms on. This was because at times, the matches were during the colder months of the year so players instead opted for long-sleeves. Because of this, many of the MVHS players feel that this incident was unfair and that the HHS coach took advantage of the situation.
“I feel really frustrated because we actually have a really good chance at winning [against]this team and for them to just take that away from us is really unfair,” Ligier, who was not in uniform because she was sick, said. “[Forfeiting two matches is] still a lot considering that we always have close matches with this team and we always like lose 3-4 or win 4-3, so it’s always really tight and [the HHS coach]just took advantage [of]that.”
The tennis team’s uniforms are purple tank tops and black shorts, which six of the MVHS players wore. The other four wore a mix of team apparel and other t-shirts. While HHS initially demanded that all four MVHS players not in uniform forfeit their matches, only two ended up doing so. The compromise was made because one of the players not in uniform, Ligier, was sick and another player, junior Rashmi Ghonasgi, had her uniform on under her long-sleeve shirt.
Despite the ruling, the MVHS team would have lost the game against HHS either way, as the two forfeited players ended up losing their matches.
Junior Carol Lei, also not in uniform, was one of the players forced to forfeit her match. The HHS coach, who pushed for the forfeit, felt it necessary because she believed that all the players on the team should be the same uniform. On the other hand, Lei doesn’t quite understand why the HHS coach took the uniform policy so seriously. While Lei understands that tennis is a team sport, she believes that the team aspect comes from the encouragement that they give each other during practice and from the sidelines. Apart from moral support, the sport is much more individual than other traditionally team sports.
“When you’re playing the match, you’re fighting for your individual match. It all comes down to how much you want to win,” Lei said.
Because of the mostly individual nature of tennis, Lei doesn’t agree with the HHS coach’s argument that the team’s uniforms must be absolutely coordinated.
Coach Lu Tang, who is new to the team this year, thought that the team could wear any uniform, including ones from previous years. Although some of his players who would have to forfeit didn’t see the point in playing and felt that they were taken advantage of by the HHS coach, Tang pushed his players to finish their match.
”At the same time I just want the kids to complete the match because in my mind, I thought I [could]do something to change the result,” Tang said. “If I stopped the match, that means I commit that we lost.”
The MVHS girls tennis team will be playing their next home game on Thursday, Sept. 29 against Gunn HS.