Did you guys use to watch Modern Family? (Liars. You did so.) There was an episode that I think was late in the series, so you may have missed it. In it, Claire and Phil are in the grocery store. An attractive woman approaches Phil, and he turns toward her, in the process knocking Claire over. I think she may have taken out a product display on her way down.
Phil goes home and tells their family about Claire’s humiliating clumsiness. She argues that he pushed her, which he denies. For some reason, the entire family believes Phil’s account, which pisses Claire off.
She proceeds to track down the video from the store’s surveillance camera, which is now archived off site, and have it reformatted to work on her home DVD player. She gathers the family together and shows them the incontrovertible evidence.
Instead of apologizing, they ask what the heck is wrong with her that she would go to that much trouble to prove she’s right.
I’m not sure where our sympathies are supposed to lie in this episode, but I’m totally Team Claire.
Today my tennis team was playing against another club at their courts. My match had just finished and I was entering the scores when a woman I don’t know asked if I’d seen the point that had just transpired on the court in front of us. I hadn’t. Apparently Player A had hit a ball with enough back spin on it that it bounced on Player B’s side of the net and then came back and bounced on Player A’s side without Player B ever touching the ball.
The woman asked if I knew what could be done in that case.
Well, I do know, as most of you probably do, that in the case of a ball spinning back over the net, Player B is allowed to cross the plane of the net and hit the ball.
But, I observed, in this case the ball had already bounced on Player A’s side. To keep the point alive, Player B would have had to hit the ball before it bounced.
Nope, doesn’t matter, said the woman. Player B can hit it before or after it bounces. I said I didn’t think that was true, and she turned to ask one of the coaches standing nearby. He agreed with her, although I will say he didn’t seem overly confident in his answer.
What with a global pandemic and all, we’re not supposed to stay and chat after matches. Otherwise, I would have taken out my phone and started googling right there. Instead, I narrowed my eyes and wagged my finger semi-obnoxiously in her direction and said I’d be looking into this. She laughed and said something along the lines of “you’ll see.”
Of course, once I got home, before I even showered, I pulled up the ITF Rules of Tennis on my computer. And here’s what the relevant passage says:
25. A GOOD RETURN
It is a good return if:
b. After the ball in play has hit the ground within the correct court and has spun or been blown back over the net, the player reaches over the net and plays the ball into the correct court, provided that the player does not break Rule 24;
Uh oh, I think. That doesn’t say anything about hitting it before it bounces. But what does Rule 24 say?
24. PLAYER LOSES POINT
The point is lost if:
b. The player does not return the ball in play before it bounces twice consecutively;
AHA! It doesn’t say “before it bounces twice consecutively on the same side of the court.” It just says bounces twice consecutively, which means Player B CANNOT reach over the net and hit it after it bounces.
At least, that’s what I think. Granted I’m not a lawyer, but it seems pretty straightforward to me. Can I be wrong here? I think not, but I’ll let you weigh in.
Who’s right—me or the woman and coach from the other club?
And, if I’m right, which I am, is there something wrong with me if I camp in my car outside that club, rulebook in hand, and wait for that woman to show up? There’s nothing weird about that, is there?