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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

REFLECTIONS...never having to say you're sorry

I've heard it said that tennis players are held to a higher standard of courtesy with unwritten rules and lofty expectations. I will agree that from the earliest times of tennis history–where royalty were the main, in not the only, participants in this activity–there has been an air of class to what began as lawn tennis. But in the end, if one is being competitive, there is a winner and a loser. The winner is happy to have done whatever it took to win, and the loser understands that only one can walk away victorious.
This brings me to the question of apologies. If I'm hitting with my partner, and the ball hits the top of the net and trickles over, am I required (as tennis courtesy would dictate) to raise a hand in apology for winning the point in this way? Well, let's evaluate the situation and ask some basic questions: Did I mean to hit the top of the net? NO. Then there is no intended malice. Did I cheat? NO, it is legal to win a point in this way according to tennis rules. Did I mean to win the point? YES, and in fact I did. Am I sorry the point ended this way? NO, since it could have happened on either side as it is simply by chance. 
So if I meant to win, and I did not cheat, then why should I be sorry? Oh, I know. It is so I can give the appearance of courtesy even though it is a phony display of etiquette. I myself would rather abide by the principle of HONESTY. I'm thrilled I won the point regardless of how pretty it was. If this makes me a bad tennis player in your eyes, then perhaps you should look in the mirror a few more times before you judge others.

THE BOTTOM LINE: follow what feels good to you.

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