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Thoughts on tennis balls

May 8, 2017

I’ve just finished reading Jonathan Franzen’s excellent novel Purity and there was a short passage near the end which I enjoyed so much I have to share it. It concerns the feelings of Pip Tyler, the protagonist, for tennis balls:

Could a more perfect manufactured object than a tennis ball be imagined? Fuzzy and spherical, squeezable and bouncy, its stitching a pair of matching tongues, its voice on impact a pock in the most pleasing of registers. Dogs knew a good thing, dogs loved tennis balls, and so did she.”

This perfectly sums up my own feelings about tennis balls (and dogs), but I would never have thought of putting them into words, nor done it so elegantly if I had.

P.S. May I bring to your attention my comic fantasy YA novel The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers – here is the link: https://unbound.com/books/adam-gowers . Go there and you will see a neat little 2-minute video of me explaining why the time for this novel has come! And if you support it you will get your name in the back and an invitation to the launch party.

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3 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    I remember as a child playing football with old tennis balls which were black with white markings. Do tennis balls still go bald?

    • When I was young tennis balls were always white. Yellow ones still seem like an innovation to me. (Incidentally eggs were white too, and footballs were brown; whereas now footballs are white and eggs are brown…) Anyway I think the yellow ones must still go bald, mustn’t they? When they get old.

  2. Simon Carter permalink

    It’s also a mystery why the number of tennis balls outnumbered the number of players by such a factor. Most kids seemed to own them without knowing where they’d come from; certainly not from playing tennis.
    Perhaps they’re like paper clips in that no one ever remembered buying them.

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