Many moons ago, at an extended-family reunion, I was playing something that vaguely resembled volleyball.
Our collective gene pool had zero talent, but we did have a court, defined by a net in the middle of a grassy lawn, two teams made up of two to 15 people (depending on how close it was to lunch), and a squishy thing that was probably once a volleyball.
Needless to say, it was a blast, and it kept us occupied for hours upon hours.
Given the floppy nature of our ball, it was pretty hard to actually get it over the top of the net — especially once some of my more enterprising male cousins tightened the net to the posts.
The trouble was there was a big hole in the middle of the net.
Of course we were trying to get the ball over the top of the net, but when we missed — which was most of the time — the ball tended to fall through the hole instead of bouncing back down.
Which left us with a major philosophical problem.
Did it count? And — barring any real scorekeeping — whose ball was it then?
We settled our problem by deciding that hitting it through the net counted, but hitting it over was extra credit.
Always a Hole in the Middle
If the net is the goal of any given moment, where getting over the top is winning and going under is losing, most of your shots will go right through the middle.
Nobody wants to lose.
But on the other hand, actually getting the ball over the top of the net takes some fiercely directed effort.
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