Thursday, June 28, 2018


For years, my high school friend Gary and I have gone to the US Open during the last week in August.  For several of these years we have been joined by another high school crony who has sometimes made the trip from as far away as Australia.  We are going again this year and adding yet a fourth high school bud to our trip to Flushing Meadows.

But the big news this 2018 is, after talking about it for years, Gary and I are leaving tomorrow for Wimbledon.  Years ago I actually did see a tennis tournament in England, but I have never been to Wimbledon and a smile creeps onto my face when I think about next week when we plan to attend.

I'm working on a book now about sports and communication.  So, in addition to just the fun, this excursion will be edifying I believe as I'll be able to juxtapose tennis fandom in Wimbledon with the fandom at the US Tennis Center. We have been told that we need to queue up beginning at 7 to gain entry.  A friend of mine who has done just that in the past said that waiting on line even for the three hours is kind of fun as you get to mingle with other aficionados.  It is there, I hope, where I plan to do some informal research.

My prediction is that except for some of the rituals, the experience in Wimbledon will be akin to what occurs in New York. The USOPEN is really an international gathering.  And I imagine the same will be true at Wimbledon. Of course the majority of spectators will be from the UK, but there will be representatives from all over the world there who are watching the games.  What they serve at the refreshment stands might vary and the costs different and protocols confusing, but my hunch is that I will observe more similarities than differences.

An aspect of the trip which we did not think about, which to me at least will be valuable, is that coincidentally the World Cup round of 16 games will be played while we are there.  And England is still alive in the competition.  If I have the times straight, some of the matches will be played while we are at Wimbledon watching tennis, but one match a day may be in the evening. It will be a hoot for me, someone who does research in sport bars, to watch the fans congregate in pubs and cheer. Since Wimbledon is likely to draw many from all over the world, it would not surprise me that fans from all countries represented will be cheering madly.  Yesterday, here in a super market where there is an alcove dedicated to coffee sipping, I watched the end of a match with some shoppers.  A woman who I assume from her concern has a Mexican lineage, wanted to know how Mexico was faring and others in this area were similarly riveted to games.  If in a grocery store, in a Boston suburb, where the US has been eliminated, there are people riveted to televisions while they sip coffee amidst bags of celery stalks, laundry detergent, and doughnuts, I think the noise in the English pubs will be robust.

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