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January 2019

Selected from: One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science!

 

Tennis, Anyone?

"Sorry I'm late. We had to spend 10 minutes scraping the ice off the car before we could get going," Ignacio said as he joined the tennis class.

He and his friend Deshi were taking Saturday morning lessons at the tennis club's indoor courts. They both enjoyed tennis and hoped to be a doubles team when they got to high school. This was the first lesson of the new session.

The previous evening, Ignacio and Deshi had played a match there against two other friends and Ignacio's mother drove them home. On the way out, she had stopped at the front desk and bought several new cans of balls that were required for the lessons. Deshi had closed the car trunk for her when she put them inside. 

Deshi's father had bought balls of the same brand for him on the way in to the lesson that morning. Since they each had new balls of the same kind, they didn't bother to keep them separate as they hit to each other to warm up. 

Some of the balls bounced normally, but others seemed dead.

"What is wrong with these balls?" Ignacio asked. "Maybe we should ask for our money back." 

"Before we do that, let's set the dead balls aside for a while," Deshi said. "They might go back to normal." 

"You don't think they are permanently messed up?" Ignacio asked.