A few hours ago, I was in the flagship Whole Foods for the mid Atlantic watching Canada play Great Britain in Women’s Soccer in the quarterfinals. The reason I mention that it’s the flagship Whole Foods is because they have an area where there’s 12 (maybe more?) big screen TV’s playing an assortment of sports. As the Summer Olympics are currently “the thing” right now, that’s what was on almost every TV. (Aside: I was actually surprised not to see them on every single TV.)
Anyway, as I was watching Canada salt away the second half, I was also keeping tabs on a few other events. There was Water Polo, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, and Tennis. It was really cool seeing badminton because, well, for one, I haven’t seen it since the last Olympics and for two, it was China vs. China! While it was a bit dizzying to keep tabs on all these sports, I started to notice something — tennis started to look veeeerrrrryyy sloooowwww. This seemed odd to me because tennis players regularly serve the ball 180+ km/h. For those of you reading this in the US, that’s approximately 112 mph. So — not slow.
Why did it look slow? The badminton players could hit the birdie (or shuttlecock) back and forth over the net 4 or 5 times before the second tennis player can hit the first tennis player’s shot. Incredible!
As you’ll note from the title of this post, I mentioned the Theory of Relativity. Why? Because the Theory of Relativity can explain why the gameplay of tennis looked slow in relation to the gameplay of badminton. There’s a famous Einstein quote that sums up the theory of relativity quite nicely:
When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity.