Sports and the "Unimportant": Tennis Balls

Tanya PalCorrespondent IMay 14, 2009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 27:  Andy Roddick of the United States of America prepares to serve quarterfinal match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day nine of the 2009 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images)

Don't be surprised, as a spectator, a tennis ball is really an UFO..THE GREEN ONE!

Until I decided to write in this series how little I knew about tennis balls! They Exist, they are the ones that are shuttled between players, the winner (Rafa) throws them into the crowd, PERIOD!

Well here's a bit of history about these little green flying objects. They've been traditionally made by Scottish craftsmen (alternate career option for Murray post-retirement?). They were made from materials like leather stuffed with wool or hair & you know what "wool-wrapped stomach of a sheep or goat and tied with rope!!" Yucky! Also animal fur, pine wood, and even human hair!

Well, I wouldn't take them in my hand, let alone play tennis. But now they are made from rubber & covered with felt, which after a lengthy process and lots of chemical treatment, achieve the perfection required for tournaments. They are pressurised to maximize bounce.

Now to the point about being unimportant:

1.Well firstly during the match they are changed practically every serve.

2.Then in a big tournament a ball is rarely used for more than a couple of times as it loses its bounce once it comes in atmospheric pressure.

3. Everybody knows what brand of clothes, shoes, and racquets their favorite player uses, does anybody even bother a look at the poor ball?

4. No player carries their own personal set of these little green things, unlike other equipment, they are just used & discarded.

5. Match over, just take the ball and throw it into the stands...nobody bothers to see what happens later.

6. They're used as a dog toy during a game of fetch, sad!

7.  How do you recycle them? Cut a hole in the ball and attach the ball to the bottom of chairs! Or use it to provide field homes for the nationally threatened harvest mouse!

I'll just conclude with a few lines from John Webster's, The Duchess of Malfi:

           "We are merely the stars' tennis balls, struck and banded

                                 Which way please them"