Love Stinks Tennis League (LSTL), is York's premier non-profit, player-powered tennis league. Founded in 2004, LSTL exists to provide local and area players a slate of matches against other members with similar skill sets and playing abilities during the course of the Spring, Summer, and Fall outdoor seasons. Not affiliated with or organized by any club or organization, the LSTL is a league designed by players for players and run by players, and allows players of both competitive and recreational backgrounds the ability to compete against each other within a structured, yet flexible, league format.
Popularized by its player-friendly "make your own time and place" scheduling method, LSTL allows players to schedule matches on their own time, and at a place and time convenient to both competitors. Site locations all over York County have been utilized by players, including (but not limited to) the courts at Central York HS, Dallastown HS, Farquhar Park, Penn State York Campus, Red Lion HS, Springettsbury Park, Susquehannock HS, West York HS, York College of PA, York Suburban HS, and many more. The league encourages players to always select a free, outdoor location as the site of their matches in order to avoid the costs that come with club-run courts and/or indoor facilities and remain within the spirit of a low-cost, "wallet-friendly" league.
LSTL is open to both men and women of all ages and skill levels, and sexism, racism, excessive gamesmanship or poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated. While LSTL is an independent organization and functions outside the normal operational model of the area's established tennis clubs, the league still believes in the importance of promoting participation in local clubs and club events. Through meeting new players over the course of a season, players not belonging to a club have the opportunity to meet and talk with various club members and explore the possibilities of club membership and the benefits of joining.
LSTL conducts two separate and distinct "sessions." Players are welcome to participate in just one, or both, of the sessions at their leisure. For those players heavily engaged in the USTA summer seasons, the second session's advantageous timing allows them to compete with their league teams during the first session's time frame, and then join LSTL in time for the start of the second session, without putting them at a disadvantage in completing their matches.
In both sessions, players begin with a "clean slate," and every player has an equal opportunity to compete for the division title. (Each player begins with 0 points, and records from previous sessions do not carry over.) Players are given approximately 9 to 10 scheduled matches within their division, and each player within a division will play all of the other players in their division at minimum one time.
Participation within a session is subject to all of the rules and regulations regarding match completion with no respect to any other session. Probationary or black list status can be applied to a player who does not make a serious and diligent effort to complete their matches by the designated league session deadline.
LSTL is divided into a series of "tiered divisions" that provide a progressively higher level of competitive balance amongst the participating players. Beginning with the upper-most division, down through the lower levels, the skill level will decrease, while keeping players of a similar caliber paired with players at the same level of play. This creates a more balanced and enjoyable level of competition amongst all players and helps minimize the potential of one or two players acting as "ringers" in a division below their ability level.
Division assignments are based on several factors, first and foremost being participation and results in previous sessions of LSTL. Additionally, a player's USTA rating, performance in other local organized events, and high school/collegiate team results are evaluated to determine where a player should be placed. No player is guaranteed a certain division, as placement of players in the various divisions can greatly differ from session to session based on the number of players participating and the range of skill levels within that group.
All players (with the exception of those in the Ladies 3.0 Division) are grouped into what are termed "Open Divisions," meaning open to all players regardless of age or gender. Anyone may participate in these divisions with the aforementioned determination of division placement being left to the league administrator, contingent upon committee agreement.
LSTL hosts a social in late July, directly between the two sessions. Held often at Farquhar Park in northern York City, the social offers an opportunity for non-competitive tennis play, socializing, food, awards, and distribution of the player gifts. Players from all divisions are able to meet, eat, and compete in a fun and laid-back atmosphere with players they would not see during the competitive sessions.