#617 When you win a point in tennis with the ball hitting the net and then dying on the other side

I’m terrible at sports.

Yes, when I was a kid I retired from soccer after just one season. In my final game I took a booted ball right to the face which snapped my glasses in two and caused me to crash to the field in a wet, goobery mess. Unfortunately, since we were low on players and couldn’t forfeit the big playoff game, I was forced to hang out on the field, blind and drippy, until the whistle blew.

And it wasn’t just soccer, either. I hung up the cleats after a season of baseball, too. Somehow I managed to bat fourteenth in the lineup and lead my team in hit-by-pitches. This was less because I crowded the plate with gritty teeth and steely determination and more because most twelve-year-olds can’t pitch straight and I have very slow reflexes.

Since I’m so bad at sports, I tend to over celebrate any type of tiny sports victory I can get. I’m not talking about shooting a buzzer-beating three pointer or catching a winning touchdown, either. No, I’m talking about any teeny-weeny play during the game where I get to feel like I actually did something right for a second.

My five faves are:

1.The Air Hockey Self Score. This is where your opponent fires the plastic puck so hard it bounces off your end and scores on their own net. Fist pumps all around.

2. The Accidental Pool Shot. Here’s where you aim for the six-ball in the corner pocket, but miss completely and send the cue ball spinning wildly around the table until it accidentally bumps another ball into a completely different pocket. We’ll take it.

3. Rim Rollers. Okay, over to basketball. This is when your shot bounces off the side of the backboard and clangs around for ten seconds, bouncing in every direction, before eventually, reluctantly, spinning around the rim and slowly falling into the basket.

4. The Slow Strike.¬† Do you ever go bowling? If you’re as bad as I am you love that moment where your ball barely nudges a corner pin and causes a slow-motion domino effect that eventually gives you a strike. Booyeah, time for a little celebration.

5. The Tennis Dropoff. Here’s my favorite one of all. Yes, when you win a point in tennis by hitting the ball into the net and having it immediately fall over and die on the other side, that’s just perfect. Now you get to relax and enjoy a brief moment of success.

Now I know what you’re thinking: These are all terrible cheap shots no athlete would be proud to score. But I’m no athlete, people. I’ll take my cheap shots when I get ’em if I get ’em. I’m not too proud to admit it, either.

So who’s with me?


Photos from: here, here, here, and here

Illustration from: here


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32 responses to “#617 When you win a point in tennis with the ball hitting the net and then dying on the other side

  1. Jay Bors

    As a former year round high school tennis player, I can say that there was nothing worse than losing a point like this. It was always common courtesy to apologize to the other player if you were to win a point like this, but no one ever ACTUALLY meant it. The way I look at it, I was trying to do it, obviously.

  2. Emily

    Air hockey self score = only reason I ever win a game of air hockey!

  3. eceldridge

    Hey, now! I’m an athlete, and I must say all of those make me smile too. One example: I remember I was having a bad pitching day (softball) and I pitched a ball into the dirt in front of home plate. It bounced up, so the girl got cocky and swung, expecting to launch it over the fence. After she missed, the catcher caught the ball and threw it back to me with a wide grin across her face. I had to turn around to hide my laughter. “Pride goeth before a fall.” Or a really lame strikeout.

  4. The only time I get a 300 yard drive in golf is when I bounce it off the cart path.


  5. Ian

    Undoubtedly awesome.

    A footy (soccer)-related one: When you inadvertently bump the ball off your standing foot and it helps you get past a defender and look skillful into the bargain.

  6. I hate that moment where you need to judge if it’s going to fall back on the hitter’s side, or if you need to make a mad dash to the service boxes…

  7. Jenn

    I loe the volleyball serve of the same caliber…touching the top of the net and falling onto the other side…or the one that just hits the line, when the other team doesn’t go for it because they think it’s out. I am NOT an athelete. I injured myself playing soccer baseball with a bunch of grade five/sixes…yep. Stellar…

  8. April

    I’m so with you! I absolutely LOVE the pool shots. We call that “slop,” and when April is playing, slop always counts. Awesome!

  9. jdurley

    I, too, am with you! I can totally relate to your history of single-year sports participation.

  10. Mike Dover

    As we say in beer league hockey…

    The garbage, goal-mouth scramble tip-in can be an end to end rush with a backhanded flip that knocks the goalie’s water bottle five feet in the air by the time the story is told at the coffee truck the next day.

  11. Jay Pee

    This is definitely awesome.

    I played competitive soccer for 15 years and despite having developed skill can’t really think of any other proud moments aside from the flukes. I’ll have to say though, I’m a firm believer that the flukes are really just the result of intense wanting and willing for success and therefore not flukes at all. They are deliberate interventions of the sports gods showing their true goodness. Let us close our eyes, swing that sporting equipment and pray with fists pumping.

  12. Claire

    Air Hockey Self Score = my primary strategy for playing the game. If I just keep my game tight defensively, eventually my husband will self-score himself into oblivion. Truly awesome to watch.

  13. Niki in Baltimore

    I am so with you on these. I do a little dance everytime the putt-putt ball goes into the clown’s nose on the 18th green.

  14. Cary

    When I play ping-pong against my far-superior friend I don’t hesitate to gloat :D

    And even if I’m the victim of such a situation, it’s always fun to dive and hope for the best

  15. I wish some of these could happen to me haha.

  16. Lucky Eye

    Hehe….If you read Harry Potter, there’s this guy who fell off his broom but he managed to kick the ball with his foot and got back on his broom.


  17. Freddo

    When you’re a professional athletic specimen like me, you make your own luck!

  18. I’d be super happy for being so lucky!

    [can never be skilled enough to do that on purpose]

  19. Someone

    This post made my heart sing. Yes, all your posts make my heart sing, but I just played floor hockey yesterday, so this fit perfectly with my life at the moment.

    If I happen to hit the ball, no matter where, no matter when, I feel extremely excited. Hurrah!

  20. Stephanie

    I identified with the pool and air hockey one so much, I found myself nodding and saying “yeah!” Thank you for making my day =) I’m going to bed now.

  21. Christie

    It’s a beautiful moment when this happens, a sign that the sports Gods are r00ting your side: )

  22. ajaks

    you do know it is an eight ball in pool? not a six ball?

  23. katherine

    in tennis, this is called a ‘let’, as in ‘yeah thats kinda not the point of tennis, but we’ll let it slide’

  24. I donít usually reply to posts but I will in this case.

  25. Hayley

    Reminds me of my only proud moment in basketball when I managed to shoot an all-net shot past a defender from thirty or forty feet away. I got a round of applause, and “accidentally” failed to mention that I’d actually been aiming for my teammate standing just to the side of the hoop and had clearly wildly missed him.

    Or in playing ping pong when my opponent hit a shot so hard that I didn’t even have to react to it. Luckily, it hit my belt buckle, went back over the table, and scored me the point.

  26. My best accidentally-awesome story: playing soccer, chasing the ball beside a player from the other team, tripped, fell, made a complete somersault, and landed back on my feet still running.

    ~ Mouse

  27. wendywithaurora

    Being asthmatic, (among other adversities), my try at softball VERY happy triumphs were when I scored a “WALK!”
    *Did you all know in the 60’s there actually was a dawning of the age of Aquarius and now we’re living in it, which according to those who know all about what this means, is mostly got to do with universal awakening, like Neil’s website, we’re so blessed to share, on this rock and with the cosmos “out there”…and this beautiful world Neil has created is in huge part because of loving and attentive parents.
    *I’m not sport’s minded but I am “moved” this very moment to say right here and now…
    THANKYOU, for being love, Neils’s mom and dad, THANK YOU!

  28. Pingback: 1000 Awesome Things - Evan's Blog

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  30. I love the slow rolling domino strikes. Its the pump fake of bowling. The only way to trick your opponents.

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