A little while ago, my good buddy Jeff brought me to the opening game of the U.S. Open. The U.S. Open is a big deal in sports, and it’s been in my backyard for as long as I remember but I’ve never been. Since his arm blew up, I’m trying to explore the non-contact sports.
These are a number of reflections for the night.
I’ve never been to a sporting event that wasn’t dominated by middle class white men from 25-60. It was interesting to stand in line with women. Women! I don’t know if they’re the minority or majority, but that’s the point, isn’t it? There was parity amongst the genders.
Tennis is also one of the only sports I can think of where the women’s version of the sport rivals the popularity of the men’s side. I think ‘Regular Joe’ on the street can name a similar number of men’s and women’s players. I doubt that is true of any other sport.
People had some USTA or U.S. Open swag, but rarely anything specific to players. No jerseys. This was weird.
It was fun to be in a crowd that knew the game well. I’ve been in football crowds with people who have known their stuff, but I’ve been at Giants games where the home crowd is whooping it up while Eli is getting ready to take the snap. These U.S. Open fans knew every impressive and difficult play, and cheered well to honor them.
There was a lot that I learned about the sport of Tennis, but one of the things I appreciated most about it was how much of a mental game it is. Every single serve, you have to be completely honed into, because it comes in the blink of an eye. If your mind wanders for a moment, you’re late to the ball and digging a hole for yourself. Focus is paramount, and these people sustain it for hours.
All in all,
I like tennis. As a goofy critic of sports and sporting events, it was nice to go enjoy one that is perfect live. The pacing and speed of the game was great. The games aren’t too long. Every seat in the house had a pristine view. No complaints.