It’s spring, and that means spending time in the Great Outdoors. One of the things my family and I enjoy doing outside is playing tennis, but…well…we have our own way of playing. A way that you will never, ever see done in France, at Wimbledon, or even the Australian Open. Not even the Aussies could handle our game.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, may I present the rules—such as they are—and the scoring—such as it is—for something we call “Kilgore Tennis“:
a sterling example of Kilgore Tennis at its finest
- Ignore everything you’ve learned on how to play “real” tennis. Trying to play “correctly” will result in you losing points.
- Yes, you can lose points in this game, smart guy.
- Use big, squishy, fluffy yellow Nerf-type balls because they’re easier to hit.
- They also require a ridiculous amount of energy to send them over the net.
- The ball can bounce as many times you want before you hit it. As long as it’s still moving, it’s in play.
- You can hit the ball as many times as you want/need to get it over the net.
- It’s fine to hit the ball if it’s out of bounds. In fact, it’s encouraged.
- Once the ball is on the other side of the net, it’s the other team’s problem. Getting the ball to their side is your problem.
- Do what you have to do to fix the problem.
- There’s no need to confine the game to a single court. Play across two or more if no one’s on them.
- Passing the ball to someone else on your team is fine.
- So is pulling up the net and whacking the ball under it.
- Kilgore Tennis is a contact sport, but if you’re going to hurt someone, make it be that guy in our neighborhood who has “THAT’S WHAT COUNTRY IS” stenciled across the back window of his pick-up truck.
- Seriously: what is it with that dude?
- Scores are kept for each player, but never added up, so as to not determine a “winner.”
Where’s the ball? Well, that’s the point: the higher you can hit the ball in Kilgore Tennis, the better
- Swinging and utterly missing: 1 point
- Hitting the ball so it lands outside the lines of the court: 1 point
- Hitting the net: 1 point
- Bouncing the ball off the fence: 1 point
- Bouncing the ball over the smallest player’s head: 2 points
- Hitting an opponent with the ball (remember, the ball is soft): 2 points
- Accidentally (that’s the key word, there) hitting yourself or others with a racket: 2 points
- Tripping over the ball: 2 points
- Spectacular fails of any kind: 2 points
If the ball’s still moving, it’s still in play. Even if that’s just rolling. Especially if that’s just rolling
- Particularly scathing smack talk (as determined by the other players): 3 points
- Hitting the ball under the net: 3 points
- Hitting the ball over the court fence: 3 points
- Hitting the ball over the fence and into the nearby woods: 4 points
- Hitting an innocent bystander (remember, the ball is soft): 4 points
- Hitting an innocent bystander wearing Ravens gear (a shame that the ball is soft): 8 points
- Hitting the ball into oncoming traffic on the street nearby: 20 points
My daughter Elizabeth about to perform a regrettable act of professionalism.
I thought I had trained her better than that.
- Each display of tennis professionalism (accuracy, admirable athletic ability, etc) -1 point
- Each display of blatant tennis professionalism (making a play like you’d see on TV): -2 points
As you can discern, Kilgore Tennis is not for everyone. But if you have the courage to try it, you can count yourself as a pioneer in a new and dangerous sport. May God be with you.