Over the net and between the lines? I can do that!"Ready? Play."
Every umpired tennis match begins with that charge from the chair ump to the players on the court.
He doesn't say, "Ready? Go." He gives the order to play.
Once it gets mentions of dramatic, staged performances out of the way, the Random House College Dictionary defines play, the noun, as an "exercise or action by way of amusement or recreation."
Amuse, the transitive verb, is "to hold the attention of (someone) agreeably; entertain or divert in a pleasant manner. Recreation is "refreshment by means of some pastime, agreeable exercise, or the like; a pastime, diversion, exercise, or other resource affording relaxation and enjoyment."
Haters, playing tennis is supposed to contain all these qualities: agreeable, pleasant, relaxing, enjoyable. Go figure.
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