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Pet of the week: Sweet Stella takes a swing at a silly tennis tradition

Pet of the week: Sweet Stella takes a swing at silly tennis tradition

Pet of the Week-_Hoffman_Stella tennis
Stella, who's available for adoption Friday, is a tiny ball of love.  Courtesy photo

Name: Stella, as in Stella Stevens; Stella McCartney; and Stanley Kowalski yelling "Hey, Stella" in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Ethnicity: I'm a short-haired Chihuahua and terrier something-or-other little girl. I weigh only 7 pounds. Please consider that if you have small children who might be too rough with me. I'm a sweet li'l thing, so be nice.

Birthdate: March 31, 2012 — I'm in the prime of my life. You know that smaller dogs live long, long lives, right?

Come and get me: I'm available for adoption at 11 am Friday, April 13 at Citizens for Animal Protection (17555 Katy Freeway; 281-497-0591). Tell them, "Ken sent me."

Stella's just sayin': Tennis has some weird traditions, like no play on the middle Sunday at Wimbledon. Why not? What am I supposed to do ... watch golf?

Tennis author Bud Collins once told me, "I'll never understand why tennis players warm up for a match, and then they sit down for a few minutes. Why don't they start when they're warmed up?"

But the weirdest tennis tradition of all is ...

Let's say the score is 40-30 and one player smacks a forehand that clips the top of the net and gently falls over to win the point and the game. Instead of pumping his fist and yelling "All right!" the player is supposed to hold up his hand and shake his head, like "I'm sorry."

Sorry? About what? He just won a lucky point that could turn a defeat into victory.

I asked Ryan Harrison, one of the top American tennis players at this week's Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship at River Oaks Country Club, why do you raise your hand like you're apologizing for a lucky shot? It doesn't make the other player feel any better, so why do it?

"It goes back to tennis being a game of etiquette," Harrison says. "In the old days, when something happened by accident, players would say 'I'm sorry.' I think it's different now." 

"I don't see it as an apology," he adds. "It's more a way of acknowledging that I got a little lucky. I'm definitely not remorseful."

Tradition or not, it's still a dumb gesture. If I could hit every shot into the net and have it fall over for a winner, I'd do it — with a smile on my face.

Sorry? Not sorry. 

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