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    How Do I Spin to Win?

    October 7, 2017 05:44 PM


    Story & photo by Ron Cioffi/USTA Southern

    Free stuff just a spin away … but how do you choose?

    That’s the question often heard around tournament desks of the USTA League Southern Championships this year. Whether it was Combo in Auburn, AL, 18s and 40s in Mobile, AL, 55s in Asheville, NC, or this week in Little Rock, players are wondering what criteria the tournament staff uses to award spins on a gift-filled spinning wheel.

    Jordan Dean celebrates her spin.

    Beginning this year, USTA Southern Director of Adult Competition & Human Resources Chris Walling wanted to increase the “wow” factor at the adult sectionals. One of most notable additions was that spinning wheel. The prizes on the wheel vary from tennis bags to USTA member gift packs to $100 gift cards. Of course, there is the required “Take Another Spin” along with the humorous “Receive a Code Violation.”

    Back to our question: How does the staff choose who will spin and win?

    The key is sportsmanship. “Whenever we see some good sportsmanship, we invite that player to spin,” Walling explained. “Other factors include being the first to turn in a scorecard. That’s so important to keep the tournament moving.” Also, turning in something to the lost and found will also be rewarded.

    Jordan Dean, captain of the Georgia 18 & Under 9.0 team, received a spin for being quick to turn in her scorecard. Shannon Ishee of the Mississippi 18 & Under 7.0 team walked away with a USTA member gift pack after he delivered his scores and earned a spin.

    One spin went to a local volunteer, Paula Jones. She was kind enough to do some laundry for USTA Southern Adult League Committee Chairman Helen Martin, who came here from Columbus, GA. That thoughtful chore earned Jones a USTA blanket.

    In addition to the spinning wheel, other new “wow” items added to adult sectionals were two iPads and stands with quick access to tournament scores that were located beside the tournament desks of both sites, along with cutouts showing the state names and outlines.

    Also pushing the envelope for hospitality was USTA Arkansas. The state office, located in Little Rock, supplied the two player lunches, the free yogurt and extra morning snacks. Three of their staffers were also onsite, ensuring that the first USTA Southern championship in the state in more than 10 years went smoothly.