I'm reading the book Working Backwards recently and got a little confused with the sentences below:

I told him I’d played two weeks earlier at the local park with my buddy John. “So you have me beat on the A-list tennis partners,” I said, “but I’ve got you on recency. I’m calling it a push. We’ll have to settle the rest on the tennis court this evening.” Jeff laughed and said it was a deal.

These sentences were quoted from page xiii of the book. The background before this conversation happened is that Jeff needed to practice his tennis skills for an event to promote Amazon's new apparel store as the last time he played tennis was two years ago and his game was a little rusty.

I am confused with "I’m calling it a push", doesn't it mean Jeff's tennis skill is too rusty and needs more practice and I have to push him?

I translated these sentences to Chinese:

我告诉他我两周前和我的好朋友 John在当地公园打过网球。“所以你要我帮你击败一流的选手”,我说,”但是我知道了你的现状,我只能称它推一把,我们今晚不得不在球场上解决剩下的问题”,Jeff 笑了,说就这么定了。

But I am not sure if I am correct.

  • 1
    I've never heard of "push" used this way, but based on the context I interpret it as "tie" or "draw"—there is no clear winner yet.
    – randomhead
    Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 6:07
  • 2
    Yeah a "push" is a tie, used particularly in sports betting, actually.
    – cruthers
    Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


This usage of "push" is jargon that is used exclusively in the domain of sports gambling. You can find it defined here: Push Definition

A "push" occurs when there is a "tie" between a sports book and the person who is placing a bet.

This doesn't necessarily mean the score is tied, but that the bet is tied-- perhaps the gambler lost one bet but won another, cancelling each other out... meaning that no money or object of value is being exchanged between the gambler and the bookkeeper.

The speaker here is using this meaning of "push" in a metaphorical way, as no betting is taking place. He means that the value of his "recent wins" is equal to the value of your "A-list tennis partners", and neither of you are ahead of the other overall.

  • 👍 Thanks a lot
    – yibn2008
    Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 9:25

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