On the Sideline: Tennis

Tennis is a game that many people find difficult to understand. They question how the game works, why zero is love, and what the point of the game even is. After some research, I have discovered the answers to all these questions and more.

Originating in Europe during the 19th century, tennis was designed for the rich, but quickly became a popular pastime for the common folk as well. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played everywhere. Tournaments are held each year and people come from all over the world to watch.

But what is it about tennis that attracts so many people? Tennis is a very simple game where two people, or two teams of two people, hit a yellow rubber ball across a net 3-feet high and into a rectangular court.

The main idea is for a player to hit the ball onto the opponent’s side of the court, resulting in the hitter’s point. A player must win a game by two points. In the result of a tie, known as deuce, one side has to score two consecutive points to win.

This brings up scoring. Points go from “love” to 15, 30, and then 40. No one is really sure why “love” equals zero. The most plausible theory is that it derives from the saying “to play for the love (of the game).”

It is believed that the sequence of numbers following love is based off of a game played by British naval officers. In this game, scoring was determined by the order of gun firings in a salute, going from the 15 caliber gun to the 30 and then the 40.

A tennis match lasts a decently long time. Each match has a certain number of sets, normally best of three or five, and each set contains six games.

Players use serves, volleys, overhead smashes and drop shots to score against the opposing team. An umpire on a high chair calls the plays in tournament matches, acting as a referee for the sport.

Playing tennis is also a good stress reliever; there is nothing like whacking the daylights out of a ball to release pent-up anger.

Information from wikipedia.com. If there’s a sport you would like to see featured or if you have questions, please email sweaver@eastern.edu.

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