The Greatest of Tennis

6:48 PM

I must extend the heartiest of thanks to our friends Toby and Charla, who offered us 2 tickets to a tennis exhibition featuring none other than the one, the only, PETE SAMPRAS (only the world's GREATEST tennis player,) and if not the greatest, then the world's most notorious tennis player, JOHN MCENROE! Not only did T & C offer us free tickets, but those tickets happened to plant us front row - courtside. I could have walked over and touched either gentleman, and believe me, was incredibly tempted to. I made eye contact - eye contact, I tell you - with Pete. Twice. I was smitten. Ladies, he may be a hairy beast, but he has charisma. My husband, Kyle, had no idea that I could turn into such a groupie! I told him it was just cause it was Pete. I wouldn't normally melt into a puddle otherwise.

Pete and JohnnyMac played best of 3 sets, and the younger great (Sampras) won out in a second set tiebreak (6-4, 7-6). It was a dazzling display of tennis skills. Groundshots the way they were meant to be hit. Serves that I drooled over - particularly cause McEnroe is a fellow lefty and his slice and spin just astounds you. The ball moves in ways that the wind can't explain. It's one thing to watch the pros play on tv - the French Open, Wimbledon, the upcoming US Open. It's an entirely different thing to watch those incredible athletes bound across the court in person to volley a winner at an angle that you could practice years and still never master. To see drop shots screech to a halt just over the net, bounce once and then just stop - absolutely un-returnable. For any tennis lover, which Kyle and I are just, uh, SLIGHTLY, it was a heavenly afternoon.

The funny thing Kyle likes to point out is that in my childhood days, when I was lucky enough to catch a tennis match on telly, which was rare - my family didn't have a TV and I was the only one with an interest in tennis, I had a little crush on John McEnroe. Never mind that he looked just like Bozo the Clown...fortunately my taste improved over time. He still rocks a tennis court, though. And I got to see some of his famous court-side "flair" as he reamed out the referee for a shrill mic problem and some ridiculous line calls. He probably also loved how the idiot fans broke all tennis protocol and walked about during the playing of points - seriously people. And how the ballboys & gals couldn't figure out how to keep the balls from moving around during play, or how they went from having six balls in rotation to a meager two until Johnny walked over and just produced a handfull of balls to distribute. Oops.

However, the highlight of the match was when Pete stopped play as Johnny was about to serve cause a hapless young chap with his freshly purchased lemonade was ignorantly walking behind the baseline to return to his seat. JohnnyMac turned around ever so slowly - glowering darkly into the stands to see who dare interrupt his serve.....
When he zeroed in on the culprit, he strode purposefully over to the seat, pointed his racquet at the kid menacingly as the crowd held its collective breath (surely he wouldn't scream at a kid!!!). He said, Give me the lemonade. The kid stared. John repeated, "Give me the lemonade." The kid handed it over. Johnny swigged half the thing down, let out a big sigh, gave it back to the kid, turned around and served out the rest of his game.

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  1. I've got half a mind to think Kyle was swooning right there alongside you, haha. Personally, I'd liked to have seen Agassi play. ;)