Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wimbledon 2007

On the eve of this momentous day, let us all take a deep breath and say that most magical
of all words...


Or, as they say at the club, The All England Lawn Tennis Club or simply The Championships. The pinnacle of the tennis world for virtually any tennis player from virtually every country...and it starts tomorrow.


I fell head over heels in love with tennis when I was a kid and I have no idea what triggered it. No one we knew played then, although Southern California has always been a tennis mecca. I spent my days hitting balls against walls and rallying with my friends. I had posters of every tennis pro known to man on my bedroom wall. One year in Montessori school every biographical report I turned in was about a tennis player. My teacher lodged a half-hearted complaint with my mom but nothing changed. I was a kid obsessed. The highlight of my year was when the Virginia Slims women's tournament came to town and my mom took me to both the semis and the finals. Every single year. I practiced my Chris Evert two-handed backhand until my palms blistered. It was fabulous. (The experience, not my two-handed backhand).

I don't play that much anymore but I still adore watching it. I'll watch any podunk match I can, but I especially love the Grand Slams, the four major tournaments of the year. The Australian Open is in January and is very problematic, being seventeen hours ahead timewise. I've gotten up at three in the morning more than once to watch a particularly anticipated match. The French Open starts at the end of May and, due to the clay surface, often produces some unbelievable play. This leads into the grass court season, which of course culminates with Wimbledon. From there we go to the U.S. hardcourt season and in late August the U.S. Open, which produces the single best tennis day of the year on what they call Super Saturday, begins. This is the day where they schedule both men's semi-finals and the women's final. I call in sick to the world on this day, spending it in front of my TV more zoned out than any junkie. I would sell body parts to attend this in person and one of these days I will. The only place I'd rather be is...


I've been there, just not during the tournament. The Film Geek has actually been on Centre Court, the most famous tennis court in the galaxy, the day after the fortnight ended. It is the most I've ever envied him. This happened during a working trip to Europe where he got to visit a lot of countries I covet, but the Centre Court thing threw me over the edge. I finally understood his aggravation when I was working at Paramount and shared an office floor with the Star Trek:The Next Generation people, whom we saw constantly, whether we wanted to or not. Payback is truly a biatch.

The cool thing is that three of these Grand Slams are pretty close together, so once the French starts they come pretty fast and furious. I've always considered my June birthday to be kind of a tennis gift, because from the end of May to the middle of September is saturation time. And I'm ready to be saturated.

Maybe not as much as the gentleman above. He looks like he's had a few, doesn't he? I don't know what it is about this oh so proper old boy's club that attracts streakers the way Wimbledon does, but they're always good for a chuckle. I'm not sure the old boys are laughing, but the crowd seems to be enjoying it. Nice socks.
So...grab a cup of tea and some strawberries and cream and make yourself comfortable.

It's showtime.


Happy in the Abyss said...

Ahhh...Andre Agassi!

Mya said...

It's Wimbledon, so cue the rain. Cue Cliff Richard singing in the stands with an umbrella, cue self-conscious Brits trying hard to embrace the Mexican wave, cue the great English hope (not sure who that is this year) getting knocked out in the first round. I feel homesick.