I’m into tennis now. I’ve been watching the matches. I’ve always liked the sport but never got around to playing it much. My dad always wanted my sister and I to play. He used to take us to the courts some Saturdays. We enjoyed it but we were a little prissier than Venus or Serena and my dad didn’t pressure us to play so that spout was short-lived.
I’ve always wondered why having no points in tennis was referred to as “LOVE”. I researched the origin of the scoring system online and the most common answer was that it came from the French word for egg, “l’oeuf”. An egg is shaped like a zero, so having zero points meant having, l’oeuf which, over the years morphed into “love”. Ironic, if you ask me. An egg is, in almost all cases, the very origin of life. Humans, amphibians, chickens, we all start as eggs. But in tennis, an egg was equated to nothing and then transformed into love– arguably the most sought after feeling on the planet, to also mean, nothing– no points—“try again next time.” Interesting. Now, I understand that this is an intense analytical criticism of a word used to simply, play a game, but, humor me, if you will. Contrary to popular belief of sticks and stones, I believe that words hold an immense amount of power. As soon as they leave your lips, they begin working to fulfill their definitive purpose. It is why we are taught, “be careful what you wish for” and to “never say never” because, these words may come to fruition. So, should love be equated to zero, to having nothing? Is it plausible to think that what applies in sports may apply in life in some way or another? I don’t know anyone who is loved that has nothing. Love is the one thing we live for, and die for. It’s the only thing you have to hold onto when everything else has been taken from you. When you’re not there to hit the ball you are served, when that ball flies right past you, or hits you in the head, when your opponent is too quick for you, or the turf is too hard to run on, when the ball is just out of your reach and all you need is that last point, when the match is over and you’re sitting in the middle of the court, love will pick you up if you have it. The love of a friend handing you a towel, or the love from within that gives you the strength to ask for a rematch, or the love from God that never allows you to fully run out of breath and is always on time with that “extra wind”. Love is there. That’s far from nothing. That’s everything.