David Crowther recently competed in the Western Canadian Senior Nationals in Calgary, placing second in the Men’s 60+ singles and doubles.  Dave provided us with this entertaining account of how he inadvertently learned something new and useful about tennis scoring.

(Photo above, left to right: David Fairbotham and Scott Braley (BC, first place).  Jim Leavens and David Crowther (Alberta, second place).

It’s Good to be Green, by David Crowther

Learning new things gets progressively more difficult with age but it does happen now and then.  I learned something both new and useful about tennis scoring at the Western Canadian Senior Nationals which ran from May 8th to 12th at the Calgary Winter Club and the Glencoe Club.

Scott Braley from Vancouver and I were playing each other in the Men’s 60+ event when a strange thing happened.  After the first game I flipped over the score and went to my bag for a drink. I was surprised to see Scott go over and reverse what I had done.  He flipped the ‘one’ to ‘zero’, the ‘zero’ to ‘one’, and rotated the pivot so that the score was exactly the same as I had left it.  The only difference was the colors of the numbers.

I didn’t say anything to him and he seemed otherwise totally sane, but it weighed on my mind.  Afterwards I mentioned it to John Harvey  (Men’s 65+ winner!) who is also from Vancouver and knows Scott well.  John was able to shed some light.

He explained that there is a little-known convention in tennis that the dark green side is used for the score of the person who serves first in the set. John thought that Scott would know this and was only doing what was proper.  He also said that very few people are aware of it and that it is almost never done.

It immediately became clear to me that it was a great idea.  Not only would it end those court side discussions of just who it was that served first but it would allow any casual bystander to immediately tell if a match was on serve or not.

I brought up the subject with my next opponents, both of whom had never heard of it but agreed it was a sound idea. I ran it by many other people over the course of the tournament…none had heard of it…all liked it.

When next I saw Mr. Braley, I thanked him for facilitating my learning of something new about scoring.  He registered bafflement.  I said, ”You changed the score in our match to reflect who was serving first…you know…dark green for the one who serves first?”  He said, “What are you talking about?  I just like to be dark green myself!”