The Championships, Wimbledon

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster
and treat those two impostors just the same”

-quote from Kiplings “If” above the entryway to Centre Court
What a historic year to be at Wimbledon!  Nadal lost first round (we were there!), Federer, Serena, and Sharapova all out in early rounds.  My man, Andy Murray, winning the championship!  I literally got a little teary eyed when Djokovic hit that last shot into the net, securing the title for Murray.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves……

His Point of View: Tickets to Wimbledon are nearly impossible to come by ahead of time.  However, Wimbledon operates a “queue” where you can show up early and get tickets to the “show courts” or grounds passes.  Tara and I woke up about 6 and were out the door at 6:30.  Taking the underground we got to Wimbledon about 7:30 and were expecting a few hundred people there in line before us.
What we found was a huge field (3 football fields at least) filled with 6000 other people in line before us. 6746 to be exact.  Some had camped out for two days.
IMG_0951 Everything was amazingly orderly and we got in our position and then basically waited for 4 hours before the “queue” stated moving.  The weather forecast was for 68 degrees and Sunny.  We were wearing shorts (Tara had capris and sandals) and light jackets.  Turned out the weather was more like 50 degrees with a wind blowing.  Tara ended up wearing both jackets and a purchased blanket as a makeshift “skirt”. 

Finally at about noon we got in, with our grounds passes.  From the first shot, I was in heaven.  It was worth the wait.  Having grounds passes meant we couldn’t get into Centre Court (more on that later) but we could get right up and close to the action.  We saw Jankavich easily dispatch the British Konta.  We saw Wozniacki win her match while barely losing a few points.  And the best part is, we were court side.  Probably the best match was a 4 set (tiebreakers in each set) battle with James Marta from England and Lu from Taiwan.
IMG_0980 For lunch we had “Scampi and Chips” (basically fried shrimp and French Fries) and ate on “Murray Mound” and watched the big screen.  The match showing was Rafael Nadal, who lost in the first round.  It was the first time that someone had won the French open, then turned around and lost in the first round of Wimbledon in 50 years.  It looks like his leg was hurting.
Afterwards we headed into centre court for the last match of the day and persuaded the guard to let us in (by that time most of the spectators had gone home).  It was hard to leave, I was having so much fun.  
IMG_0921 Tips for next time (or someone going to Wimbledon): At about noon each day, ticket master releases a number of tickets for the matches in 48 hours.  Prices are the same as you pay at the ticket office (45 pounds for centre court and 20 pounds for a grounds pass).  If you can pull it off, this is the best way to get tickets.  Otherwise, the best way to do the queue is to show up about 6:30am.  This ensures that you get in before 11:30 when the first matches start.  And be sure to dress warm and bring plenty to do while you wait (it could actually be quite fun if you had stuff to do and the weather was nice).   

Her Point of View:
Wow. Close to 5 hours of waiting in line. Freezing to death.  Worth it?  YES!  What an amazing day we had at Wimbledon.  I didn’t think I was going to survive the line, but once we got in, we had an amazing time! Rusty said he would gladly get up the next morning and do it all again, but I wasn’t quite so sure. 
IMG_0925 IMG_0957
I’ve got to hand it to those Brits…they are a pretty organized bunch of people!  Even though the line was eternally long, everything was well organized and the workers were so friendly.  We had to show our queue cards a bunch of times at different points in the line and every time they’d say something like, “That’s just lovely, dear,” or “oh, isn’t this all so wonderful?”  It was cute and made me happy. 
Here we are inching through the line.
Made it!!!!
IMG_0968The thing I liked most about Wimbledon was being close enough to the players to observe their little routines.  I loved seeing what they ate, what they did between points, and how they handled themselves when they got tired.  
As a runner, I focus a lot on making myself “mentally tough.”  9 times out of 10, my brain gives up before my body.  It’s something I think all athletes struggle with, and it was interesting to watch it play out even with professional athletes.  As we were watching these amazing tennis players it became clear that what separated the top 10 players from the rest was their ability to make it through an entire grueling match mentally in tact.  They didn’t necessarily hit much harder, serve more aces, or hit more winners.  They just did these things more effectively even under pressure.  I love the mental aspect of athletics and was fascinated to watch it up close and personal.  I was also fascinated with watching the ball boys.  Rusty thought that was weird 🙂
Watching Rusty be so happy was something I’ll never forget.  I’ve never seen him so giddy.  Even after the day was over and it was time to go home, he just lingered.  Someday we’ll return to Center Court for the Championship match.  Until then, we’ll just have to settle for our memories! 

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