[392/441] No advantage

This post is intended as a Freewrite, so I have started the clock.  I’ll start with my experience in the late morning as to the reasoning for the post in the first place.  So… here we go!

Northwestern women’s tennis faced Rice University in a consolation match of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-Off event.  The ‘Cats got upset yesterday by Arizona State, in a 4-3 decision.  I was unable to attend the match, since I was at services and lunch yesterday.

Well, when I got there, I picked up the program as always.  In addition to the rosters and team news, there was also a full spread on one side detailing the “New ITA Match Format.”  These include:

  • No-ad scoring in singles and doubles.
  • Three doubles matches played, each match one set to 6, with a tie-break at 6-all.
  • Followed (after a 5-minute intermission) by six singles matches, each match 2 out of 3 sets, with tie-breakers at 6-all.
  • No warm-up with opponents (in doubles and in singles).

Evidently, the rationale behind these rules changes is to speed up the pace of NCAA tennis meets.  I don’t mind the shortening of the doubles matches or the warm-up changes,  as these are somewhat minor.  What, however, does not make sense, is the No-Ad scoring.

Ordinarily in tennis, there is a “Win-By-Two” clause in EVERY segment of the match, with a few exceptions.  When there is “Ad Scoring,” a score of 40-40 is not “Next point wins the game,” but rather the winner gets the “Advantage” and has to win the next point in order to win the game.  So, each Game in tennis normally has a Win-By-Two clause.

And if a Set is tied 5-5, the person that wins the next Game doesn’t automatically win, but has to win another Game.  If there is a split after 5-5, there is a tiebreak, with win-by-two in effect.  (Therefore, it is possible to win a Set by a 7-6 games score.)

In amateur tennis, I would think that there are tiebreaks at the end of every set so as to avoid the Isner-Mahut match of 2010.

But, No-Ad scoring will speed up matches to avoid the Deuce Battles.  The catch: part of the fun of tennis is coming back from a love-40 score, battling in a deuce trade, and eventually winning the game.  This is not possible under No-Ad scoring.

Furthermore, it reminds me of when I played intramural tennis at Nebraska (and got completely destroyed each time I played).  Those matches were 12-game pro-sets, with no-ad scoring and a one-hour time limit.  Because No-Ad scoring was used in intramurals, it just encourages me to dig out Dan Hawkins’ famous rant, in the YouTube video below.

This is Division I tennis!  It’s the ITA!  It ain’t intramurals!  If you want shorter matches, go play intramurals!

So, another thing that I am going to mention about “no advantage:” in my research, I am trying to find a non-dimensionalizing argument that will require me to use fewer parameters than what I currently have.  It is not working very well, yet I wonder if there IS an advantage if I can find it.  I’ll try a little bit more on it…

Although speaking of No-Ad, the first time I heard it, I knew it as “Not Advertised.”  This is the brand name of a sunscreen that my parents always used to buy.  I don’t know if they still buy it, but it was effective and inexpensive.  It wasn’t until I got to college that I learnt “No-Ad” as no-advantage scoring in tennis.  Even in high school, deuces and advantages were used.  (I didn’t play tennis, but my sister Molly, and several of my friends as well, did.)

That’s quite a shift from academia and sports.  But, since I only have a minute left before the horn blows or the beeper beeps, I can make things go off-topic.  In some sense, it becomes word or phrase association when I exhaust my first topic.  Is there a problem with that?  I think not–running your brain and just letting what comes from your mind onto paper or onto the editor makes it fun.  Even if it is hard to read…

TIME!

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Today is the three-hundred and ninety-second day of Mission 441.  Forty-nine days remain.

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