It is one of my favorite events of the summer…the Fortnight known as Wimbledon. Ever since I was 12, I have always tried to keep up with the tennis world…but I rarely miss a Wimbledon tournament. I will forgo some of my favorite shows when there is action on the grass courts of the All-England Tennis Club and I secretly harbor a desire to write a book with the AELTC as a backdrop to the story. (Hmmmm….maybe that would be enough to justify a trip?) Here are just a few things I LOVE about Wimbledon:
The Game itself. Tennis is the only sport I play worth a darn so I have to be all for any sport that I can follow, have players I regularly root for and that makes we want to go play after I watch it. I don’t watch basketball and think “let’s go toss a few hoops.” I have never watched the Steelers (as much as I love them) and said “Hey, let’s go get crushed by someone.” But Tennis? You betcha. Give me a sunny day, a motivational game by Serena Williams or Andy Murray and I will be at the park before the day is out.
The Venue. Like the IMS or Churchill Downs, you can’t help but be awed by the rich history of the All England Lawn Tennis Club. They have their signature breakfast menu (strawberries and creme) they have a dress code for players, the whole place has a sense of pomp and circumstance…how can you NOT love it? I also recently heard that they only charge their members $75 in dues a year…however, the odds are not in your favor that you will actually get in.
The Royals. I can’t think of a time when the President showed up at a Super Bowl, but at Wimbledon, there are honest to goodness crown-wearing ROYALS in the house. Celebrity sightings take on a whole new meaning when its the future King of England and/or his wife…though my son did get a little wacky when he realized J.K. Rowling was in attendance. (OK, I was pretty excited about that myself.)
The Wardrobe. Wimbledon has verrrrryy specific rules when it comes to what you can and cannot wear on the court. White is the order of the day, which forces players to express their personal styles in unique ways and its really interesting to see what they come up with. I guess Roger Federer got a reprimand from the club about having orange soles on his shoes, yet Serena can wear orange underwear and that passes muster. Go figure…I was unaware that there was a panty loophole.
Past Champions. While there are always a number of ex-players calling the matches, it’s always nice to see a familiar face in the stands or being honored on the court for their place in the game. I can’t help getting a little giddy when I see Mary Lou Retton at the Olympics and it’s always cool to see some of the great tennis players of all time watching the new crop of players kicking “grass.”