Author Topic: "I do want to compete, but just not with you as my partner" - update p72  (Read 17931 times)

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LifeOnPluto

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This question is on behalf of a friend of mine, "Alan".

Alan has a close friend, "Bob". A few months ago, Alan and Bob joined a sports club together. This sports club has several facilities, such as a gym, basketball court, squash court, and tennis court. Last month, the club announced that it would soon be holding a "Tennis Doubles Competition". Members were welcome to compete, with the caveat that they had to sign up in pairs (since it was a doubles competition). Basically, the teams play off against each other, with half the teams getting knocked out after each round, until only two teams are left to contest the final. 

When the announcement was made, Bob was quite excited, and suggested to Alan that the two of them enter this competition. Alan wasn't sure, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he didn't know if this competition was something he'd be interested in, and secondly (and most importantly) he wasn't sure he wanted to team up with Bob. Apparently, Bob is a great guy, and loves sport, but sadly, he is not a gifted athlete. He genuinely tries his best, but is pretty slow and clumsy. By contrast, Alan is a pretty good athlete, and tennis player in particular (took lessons as a kid) and strongly suspected that if he teamed up with Bob, Bob would only drag them down.

So Alan fobbed Bob off, by saying something like "Hmm, maybe. Not sure if this is really my thing. I'll have to think about it."

That was a few weeks ago, and according to Alan, Bob has not raised the issue since. Now the sign-up sheets have gone up, and the competition is starting soon. On re-consideration, Alan has realised that he'd definitely be interested in entering the tennis doubles competition. BUT - he'd prefer not to team up with Bob (for the reason mentioned above). Instead, there are several other guys at the club who Alan is friendly with, and who are good tennis players (eg "Charles", "Dan" and "Ed"). Ideally, Alan would like to team up with one of them, and he plans on talking to them soon, so he can secure one of them as his tennis partner. 

Another factor is that each team has to supply a Ball Boy (or Ball Girl). The Ball Boys/Girls basically act as a support crew to their team, and to the competition in general. They stand on the sidelines during the match and retrieve any stray balls; they assist the umpire with scoring if necessary; and they ensure their team has things like towels and water bottles and spare racquets. Alan thinks he (and his tennis partner) could ask Bob to be their Ball Boy, so that Bob can still be involved in the competition without having to actually compete.

My questions (or rather, Alan's questions) are:

1) Is Alan obliged to pair up with Bob? Or is it ok for Alan to ask one of the other guys to be his tennis partner? (This one's pretty much academic, as Alan is planning on pairing up with someone else anyway).

2) If Bob asks why Alan paired up with someone else, does Alan have to give him an explanation? If so, should Alan gently tell him the truth: eg "You're a good mate, but you suck at tennis."?

3) Is it a good idea for Alan to ask Bob to be Ball Boy for their team? (I get the impression that Alan thinks he'll be making a very kind and inclusive gesture to Bob by asking him this, but I suspect it might come off like a "second prize" to Bob).



« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 11:45:52 PM by LifeOnPluto »

Amara

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I'm uncertain about how I'd answer your first two questions, OP, but I firmly believe that Bob will see an offer from Alan to be his "Ball Boy" as a major insult.

Amava

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I don't know, but the whole story has me hoping that Bob teams up with someone else, and beats Alan and his "better choice" in the tournament.  :P

WillyNilly

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I think Alan can go with a slight white lie "Charles and I already play tennis together recreationally, so doing the competition together just made sense."

As for the "ball boy" thing - I can't really think of anything more insulting then asking Bob to do that. If Bob offers, ok to take him up on it, but offering it is really, truly a slap in the face.

Miss Unleaded

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I'm uncertain about how I'd answer your first two questions, OP, but I firmly believe that Bob will see an offer from Alan to be his "Ball Boy" as a major insult.

This, I totally agree on. 

1.  Of course Alan is not obliged to agree with Bob's request, but he shouldn't be surprised if refusing has repercussions on the friendship. 
2.  I think he should just bean dip. 
3.  Way to rub salt into the wound.

*inviteseller

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There is no way that Bob is not going to be hurt by this.  No, Alan does not have to play with him in the tournament, but he should have said so from the beginning, or at least said, I don't know yet, I'll get back to you.  He can tell Bob that he feels he meshes better with Charles as a player but he would be glad to help him find a partner.  I think it would be insulting to be asked to be ball boy when Bob wants to compete. 

sammycat

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Asking Bob to be the ball boy isn't being inclusive.  In this instance, it's just being cruel and insulting.

I don't know, but the whole story has me hoping that Bob teams up with someone else, and beats Alan and his "better choice" in the tournament.  :P

yES!!

sweetonsno

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1. I'm of two minds on this one. On the one hand, I do believe that people have a right to accept or decline invitations as they wish. On the other hand, I think it is fairly rude to beg off on one person and then later invite another person to the same event. While I do believe that it is perfectly acceptable in some cases, this isn't really one of them.

2. It's fine to be honest if you do it right. Your hubby should focus on the positive (he and Alan have played together more, he and Alan compensate for one another's weaknesses better, whatever) rather than the negative (Bob's shortcomings).

3. I agree with all previous posters. Horrible idea. If he doesn't get it, ask him how he would have felt if a girl turned him down for prom but offered to let him be the chauffeur for her and her date. 

PastryGoddess

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Both Bob and Alan got the info about the competition at the same time. So even though Bob asked Alan to be his partner, it's not like Alan never would have heard about the competition unless Bob told him.

1. Alan is not obligated to pair up with Bob if he doesn't want to

2. No need to explain in detail as that implies that Bob has the right to know why Alan made his decision.  Alan can bean dip by saying things like,"Charles and I are a good fit, beandip" or "Dan and I decided we play really well together, beandip'

3. Don't ask Bob to be the "Ball Boy" if he wants to compete, he'll find a way to compete

Raintree

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3. I agree with all previous posters. Horrible idea. If he doesn't get it, ask him how he would have felt if a girl turned him down for prom but offered to let him be the chauffeur for her and her date.

I was going to use the same analogy. Just don't do it!!

I can totally understand wanting to enter a competition with a partner that was at the same level as you. I think this is totally OK. Something along the lines of "I thought I'd team up with Al as our styles mesh well." But no ballboy as the consolation prize, please.

Redsoil

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What I'm reading is:  close friends, joined club together, Bob is excited about playing in competition with Allan.

I wonder, is winning more important, or is the friendship?  I assume it's not a comp which then leads on to going up the ranks in the tennis world, simply a club comp.  Maybe Allan could play with Bob this time, but for the next comp, say he'd like to play with *xyz* to stretch his wings and branch out in his club a bit. 
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peaches

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I don't know, but the whole story has me hoping that Bob teams up with someone else, and beats Alan and his "better choice" in the tournament.  :P

 :)

Since I value friendship over winning in a sports club competition, here's what I'd do:

*Approach Bob and ask if he's still interested in competing in the tennis tournament. If the answer is Yes, then sign up with him as partner.

*If the answer is No or Not Really, then tell him "I'm really interested. I think I'll look around for a partner". Then do that.

There's no way I'd suggest the Ball Boy position as a consolation prize for Bob. If Bob thinks it's the right role for him, he'll suggest it.

My thinking is that this tournament isn't the most important thing in life. There will be other tournaments, other years. Good friends, on the other hand, are hard to find - and keep.

It could be that if they play together as a team, Bob will see how good a player Alan is, and that they are at different levels of play. He may not want to be his teammate next year for that reason, and may suggest that Alan find a different partner.
 
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 03:20:14 AM by peaches »

sammycat

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What I'm reading is:  close friends, joined club together, Bob is excited about playing in competition with Allan.

I wonder, is winning more important, or is the friendship?  I assume it's not a comp which then leads on to going up the ranks in the tennis world, simply a club comp.  Maybe Allan could play with Bob this time, but for the next comp, say he'd like to play with *xyz* to stretch his wings and branch out in his club a bit.

This is what I'm wondering too. It's not as if they're competing for a spot at Wimbledon. It sounds like a friendly interclub game that doesn't mean anything really in the overall scheme of things.

Alan isn't exactly coming up smelling of roses in this entire situation.

I think the prom/chauffeur analogy mentioned by a pp was an excellent one.

Oh Joy

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Can Alan arrange a doubles game with Bob and two other guys just for fun?

Nothing wrong with him entering the tournament with someone else.  Just frame it to Bob that the guy specifically has a wicked serve or plays to one of Alan's weaknesses, rather than that he's a good player (and Bob's not).

Miss Unleaded

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My thinking is that this tournament isn't the most important thing in life. There will be other tournaments, other years. Good friends, on the other hand, are hard to find - and keep.


I was also thinking this. I don't really get why winning is so important for a friendly amateur competition.  Certainly I don't think it's worth alienating a close friend over.  But I suppose that Alan has different values than I do.

I agree with a PP that it would be really sweet if Bob found a different partner and did better in the comp than Alan.