life after the birds fly the coop

Musings on the U.S. Open

If you aren’t a tennis fan, you won’t hurt my feelings if you stop reading right now. If you are a fan of humanity, you may consider continuing.

Having attended the US Open at Flushing Meadows, NY, four times now (including this pasta week), and having been an avid fan of the sport for 15 years, a few things have caught my attention about this sport and, particularly, this tournament.

First, EVERYONE LOVES ROGER FEDERER. I hate that. I thought I was the only one. I mean, the only one who TRULY loves him. I didn’t have tickets to Arthur Ashe that day (crying), so why wouldn’t I get to watch him practice? He’s only practicing! Instead I clawed my way through throngs of people who think they adore him as much as I do to get a glimpse of the “best player of all time.” How disturbing! Move on, people! You fake fans!

Second, a LOT of people like Juan Martin del Potro. A LOT.  They like him almost more than I do. Almost more than my daughter does. (I took a lot of pictures of him, just for her, of course.)

Third, people like the BIG PLAYERS. Even if they don’t really “like” them, they LIKE them. They stand in line in the rain, in the cold, in the DARK, to see them from a wee wee distance. I have no words.

Fourth, I like tennis players. A lot. They are so athletic. Some of them play two, I mean TWO matches in one day, a singles and then a doubles. I’ve played tennis, and I think doubles is a lot of work, so…Their muscles are AMAZING. And they are so quick. Reminds me of my teens…in the ‘80s, (shyly hidden under turtlenecks and high-waisted jeans, of course).

Fifth, if you like to drink (alcohol), bring a LOT of money. Drinks are expensive here. You can get a Grey Goose “double deuce” for a mere $16.50 and it lasts about 20 seconds; it’s so good and so sweet! Then after that you can get another, or go for a cheaper $12 glass (3 oz.) of wine, or maybe a light beer for $9.50. If you don’t like alcohol, grab yourself a healthy bottle of Evian for just $11.50. May as well go for the beer.

Sixth, you can EAT so many things! Hot dogs, hamburgers. Oh, that’s boring. How about fish and chips, designer tacos? Kimchi? Lobster rolls? Origami potato chips? All can be yours for $500. It’s awesome.

Seventh, you can swiftly hop on a subway (the 7) at Times Square and be there in a short ONE HOUR, elbowing your way for a seat. But there is so much humanity to be seen! It smells great. Really. Same subway can take you back home a little faster, but you really need to elbow your way here, as everyone else wants to get back to the hotel to watch the night matches, or get some sleep.

Eighth, you can find the perfect size-medium long-sleeved pullover (because dang, it’s cold this year), but you have to run, not jog, to every kiosk on land, only to find you are NOT the only size M that wants said long sleeved pullover. So you settle for a t-shirt. It’s OK. You are at the US OPEN!

Ninth, you may get to see your favorite player. You may even get to see him or her up super close, if the news media has decided they aren’t famous enough for Center Court on Arthur Ashe. So tip here: learn to love the “lesser knowns.” It’s truly great tennis on the “outer courts”!

Tenth, (and final) You will be surrounded by the most passionate, excited sports fans IN THE WORLD. They LOVE tennis. Almost as much as you do. And it’s contagious. If you get a chance to go the US OPEN, cancel all your other plans.


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