For example, don't do what I recently did and agree to play by special “home court” rules that are directly against the ITF Rules of Tennis. This is a truly bad idea. Listen and learn . . .
Not too long ago, I played an away doubles match and was assigned to play on the court with low-hanging overhead power lines. How low were they? Well, while I wasn't worried that I might touch them during my leaping scissor kick overhead, I was worried that I might hit them while lobbing. And, frankly, they were a wee bit visually distracting.
But the other two courts were already occupied. And it was already getting late. And the line that had played just before us had somehow survived without being electrocuted. And our opponents swore they had only seen anyone EVER hit those lines except maybe once or twice EVER. And since this was a “friendly” league where we were really all just playing for fun, I would kind of be a jerk if I insisted that we wait until one of the two non-electrocution courts opened up. Wouldn't I?
Let me make very clear, I actually asked my opponents if these low-hanging power lines didn't qualify as “permanent fixtures” which they most certainly did. Per ITF Rule 2, permanent fixtures are all “fixtures around and above the court.” And Rule 13 explains the consequence of hitting a permanent fixture: “If the ball in play touches a permanent fixture after it has hit the correct court, the player who hit the ball wins the point. If the ball in play touches a permanent fixture before it hits the ground, the player who hit the ball loses the point.” So if I send up a lob and it touches a power line and then lands in the correct court, I lose the point no matter what my opponents do with the ball because the ball touched a permanent fixture.
So what was the reply to my question? “Well, if a ball touches the power lines, we just play a let and re-do it because it hardly ever happens.” So what did I do? I naturally AGREED to throw out the permanent fixture rule and play by my opponents' special “home court” rule. What an idiot I am!
Of course, my opponents lobbed the ball throughout the match. And of course, they managed to hit the power lines not once but TWICE, despite this being a supposedly rare occurrence on par with the sighting of Elvis. And of course, I couldn't get those stupid power lines out of my head. My lobs were tentative because I was thinking about NOT hitting them. My service toss was wonky because I could see them from the corner of my eye, beckoning to me. When my opponents lobbed the ball, it was all I could do to not stand there and just stare at them. I was a mess. And we lost.
The lesson, ladies and gentlemen? NEVER agree to throw out the rules of tennis for some kind of crazy home court rules. Not even if it means you come off looking like a stuck-up tennis witch. You will live to regret it.
And yes, you're welcome for me once again teaching you an obvious tennis lesson that I had to learn the hard way!