The word top doesn’t mean to some people what it does to others. Is it a question of perspective?
“I’m on top of the world.” I suppose we all are in some sense, what with the world being a sphere, spinning through space. But if we take it to mean at the North Pole, as some people do, I’m not so sure that would be a great place to be at all. And the same could be said of Everest’s summit, unless you’re a climbing enthusiast.
“Bill is the top man for the job.” I doubt that he is. He could well be the top man for the job within that company, but he’s definitely not the top man. And besides, people at the top are apt to be…toppled.
So, maybe the top is really in the middle.
Topspin. In sports terminology, a ball is said to have topspin when it rotates forward in the direction that it is traveling, causing it to descend.
The question is, where is the top and when does the top cease being the top on a ball? Once it begins rotating, doesn’t the top cease to be the top? Or is the top a fixed place figured at the point of release, like the branding on a baseball where you put your index fingers to throw a curve?
In any case, the opposite of topspin — backspin, wherein a ball rotates the opposite direction it’s traveling — seems to be a more-appropriate directional explanation to describe the action.
Forward spin? Downspin?