It's not tennis
At a recent mediation it was suggested that I would be "playing mediation tennis" all day, by which I hoped they meant I'd be travelling back and forth between the two parties constantly rather than having anyone shout you cannot be serious at me!
It turned out that the prediction was relatively accurate, as of course is the case in most successful mediations the mediator has to spend time with all parties getting to the heart of the issues, helping them consider possible solutions and batting to and fro between meeting rooms as the issues are defined, refined and resolved.
However unlike tennis there is never a game set and match moment where one side "triumphs" over the other and the mediator doesn't act as an umpire.
In a successful mediation the participants determine for themselves how they want to resolve the dispute, the mediator can only provide guidance and assistance to get to that point. Thankfully the participants in this particular match, with guidance, found their way to a resolution with which they could live. No one got to raise a first in triumph or throw their racket down in disgust but all the issues were resolved. Mediation isn't a game it's a form of talking therapy which uses the mediators skills and experience to tackle disputes.