Megan - Los Angeles, CA | Read Megan's Second Entry
My mom doesn't play tennis regularly, but when she tried she looked like she was chasing butterflies and would eventually give up, blaming an old knee injury she suffered after falling from an ill-conceived cheerleading pyramid half a century ago. But she watched all six of her children take lessons, obsess over the Grand Slams and even create their own annual summer tournament. She watched, but she never understood. "Why aren't all the points worth the same amount,?" she would ask every time. My standard answer was "That's just the way it is," while my brother replied, "Why is a basket worth two points? Why is a touchdown worth six?" Her touche: "But they don't make every third touchdown worth ten points."
Well, she had a logical argument, and as Commissioner of Tennis, I would satisfy my mother and other math-averse spectators and athletes the world over by giving the scoring system a makeover. But not all aspects of the system will get an overhaul. I'm keeping the concept of Love representing zero, if only to satisfy my inner-cynic who believes that French had nothing to do with Love's etymology. It was just some guy with a broken heart.
The real changes come in the first three points of a game, which would simply be scored one-two-three. No more confusion over the first point (Isn't it 15? Why are we calling it five?) If players become locked at 3-3, then...wait...how could I make any changes to the quasi-French "Deuce"? It's tennis's equivalent of the two-minute warning-"You couldn't put her away and now you have two points left. You have two points left!" And having my name called out after the word "advantage" would really never happen in any other context of my life, so I'll keep that as well. Now that I think about it, maybe I like the quirks. Maybe I like that there are people out there who can take the time to appreciate the strange scoring, wacky vernacular and cumbersome traditions this sport has to offer.
I relinquish my title - who needs an indecisive commissioner anyway? My time is better spent going home to properly teach my Mom the game I'm passionate about. I think that's something all tennis fans can do. Teaching people beyond the walls of the country club to play tennis will help grow the game and would impact the future of the sport much more than any rule change ever could.
Now, do I have enough words left to write about Bud Collins's stylist?