Monday, July 05, 2010
They came, they saw, they conquered.
Obviously, I'm not talking about Andy Murray and Venus Williams at this year's Wimbledon. I'm talking about Thing One and Thing Two, who had their first Wimbledon experience.
Now that they're old enough to sit still, be quiet and stay up until 11 p.m. on a school night, (the last milestone being the last one reached), we headed to the tennis tournament after school on Thursday of the first week. The boys had been to Wimbledon just last summer (see below), but when we were there the most active people around were the people working at the tills in the museum shop.
At the height of the tournament, it's completely different. First of all, the Wimbledon station is completely decorated with Wimbledon posters and promotional materials, with big signs leading you to the bus queue or the taxi queue. (Although we didn't go there this year, in the past, Southfields underground station had astro-turf across the Tube platform, with tennis court markings).
We took the shuttle bus to the grounds, which was a mistake for us, because we were joining the famous queue, meaning once we got off the bus, we had to walk about a mile to get to the back of the queue, and then walk some more to get through the front gates, doubling back and crossing over on our past several times.
Once inside with your Ground Only Passes, it was fantastic. Even though it was 6 p.m., matches were still being played on all the courts, and thousands of people milled around the grounds. We got to see Sue Barker from her broadcast booth (reference lost on US fans). We also were one row behind the perimeter on Court 16 to see the No. 9 seed Na Li beat another ranked player. The boys were amazed at how fast the balls flew by and how hard they hit them.
As the day wound down, we got lucky when two older women stopped the boys and asked them if they'd like to go see some matches on Court No. 1. By this time, it was a women's doubles match for which not many people stayed. The guard either didn't notice or didn't care that we only had two tickets for three people, and it didn't matter any way since the court was only half-filled.
All in all, it was a fantastic memorable day I can't decide if I'm a bad mother for getting the boys home at 10:45 p.m. on a school night, or a good mother for taking them to Wimbledon. Maybe it's a little of both.
I got to go back to Wimbledon the following Wednesday for the men's semi-finals with the tickets we won in the lottery for Court No. 1. We got to see Rafael Nadal play, and even better, I got to see Rafa change his shirt! (which he did frequently between sets). It was just as much fun the second time.
We'll do it again next year, for sure.