Have you done anything recently that's a little out of the ordinary? Not the big things like a trip to Europe or Hawaii, but the little things that are fun or unusual -- that you never did when you were working or raising kids.
Anyway, last week we went to a polo match. Why? Because we could. And it was a blast.
This week I took a New Jersey Transit train up to New York City to spend a day at the U. S Open, a signature New York event that takes place out in Flushing Meadows, Queens, at the end of summer.
We all know about tennis greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. But there's a lot more to the Open than the stars.
|I saw this ad for the Open, featuring Roger Federer, at a New Jersey train station,|
For example, there is a junior division where dozens of promising young tennis players from around the world meet to compete for a chance to test their mettle, hone their competitive skills, and perhaps get noticed by coaches or sponsors.
|Young players practice on the side courts|
Tens of thousands of fans descend on the tennis center every day during the two-week tournament -- and security is tight. Nobody wants a problem, and the police presence is both robust and obvious.
|Police are out in force|
So my jaunt over to the polo match with B was spontaneous. But the trip to Flushing Meadows is a planned event. In fact, I've been going with my son for a number of years -- it's a way for us to get together and spend some quality time together.
|Heading for the matches|
We met at the tennis center, and first stopped off to watch a juniors match, where we saw a young Belgian edge out a Canadian 2 sets to 1. I like watching the boys, because first of all you can sit right next to the court and get a close-up view of the play. And also, these kids are good, but they're not like Roger Federer or Raphael Nadal -- they make mistakes, they feel the pressure. In short, they seem more human.
|Wawrinka makes a serve|
The next match we saw brought up the new bad boy of tennis, Daniil Medvedev from Russia, playing against former champion (in 2016) Stanley Wawrinka from Switzerland. Medvedev had made a "name" for himself in a previous match by rudely grabbing a towel from the ball person, then throwing his racket and later giving the finger to the crowd that booed him.
So the fans were definitely on Wawrinka's side for the quarter finals. But it didn't matter. Medvedev behaved himself and won 3 sets to 1, and earned a place in the semi-finals against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who upset Roger Federer to get through to the second-to-last round. That match is played later today, Friday. The winner meets the winner of the other semi-final -- most likely Raphael Nadal -- for the championship on Sunday afternoon, Sept 8.
|Medvedev up on the screen|
But for us, who wins is not so important. We love watching a day's worth of top-notch professional tennis. We love the crowds, the spectacle, the excitement, the international flavor -- and the chance to witness a small part of this historic sports event.
|View across the grounds to the iconic Unisphere from the 1964 NY World's Fair|