"To be happy in this world you have to ignore some things." -- Alan Drew, "Shadow Man"

Friday, September 6, 2019

How You Know You're Retired -- Second Set

     As I mentioned in my last post, and as everyone knows, one of the benefits of retirement is that you have time to do things you might not otherwise do. If it sounds like it might be fun, then go ahead and do it!

     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.

     Then we walked over to Arthur Ashe Stadium and viewed a women's quarterfinals match between Elina Svitolina of Ukraine and Johanna Konta of Great Britain. Svitolina was more confident, more consistent, and won the match 6-4, 6-4. But (we found out later) Svitolina in turn bowed to our own Serena Williams in the semi-finals, played last night. Williams will meet Bianca Andreescu of Canada for the women's finals tomorrow, Saturday, at 4 p.m. It will be on TV if you're interested.

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


Anonymous said...

Yup! We were able to get a “bucket list” item checked off! Wife got “bumped” from a flight from Charleston to NYC to attend a Leonard Cohen lecture series and other exhibits. Took the $1000 AMEX gift card and swapped for round trip flight to Rapid City, SD. Always wanted to see Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse mountain, Custers last stand, Cody, Wyoming, Yellowstone Park, the Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole and environs, Star Valley etcetcetc.
Highlight of the trip was Thermopolis, Wy. Great town with wonderful dinosaur museum, mineral hot baths, Bison galore, petroglyphs.
Great time.

DUTA said...

The hot name in tennis now is the serbian Dukovich, neither Nadal nor Federer.
I sometimes tell retired people don't get too busy! When you're busy time flies, and we don't want that. We want it to slow down, so that we feel we savour life a bit more.

Gail, northern California said...

Instead of simply staying at ground level taking pictures, I decided to tread all 145 steps to the top of Pt. Arena Lighthouse (tallest lighthouse on the west coast). It was worth the effort.

Olga said...

When my kids were teenagers there was a professional tennis match at Stratton Mountain and we got to go for a two or three years in a row. It's really something to see professional athletes in action. My daughter was quite in love with Bjorn Borg at the time.

Barbara said...

I went to one here in Houston, a long, long time ago. It was so much more interesting than on tv. I don't know if it still is this way, but at that time the audience was so quiet. That part went against what was natural to me. I'm glad I went but I prefer a nice rowdy basketball game. LOL

Tom said...

The Serbian Novak Djokovic was playing Stan Wawrinka, losing 2 sets to 0, when he retired with a shoulder injury. Too bad. IMHO Djokovic is currently the best men's player in the game.

Olga, your young daughter had good taste -- a lot of young women appreciated the talents of the young Swede.

Update: 22-year-old Daniil Medvedev beat Dimitrov 3 sets to 0 to earn a spot in the televised finals on Sunday afternoon.

DJan said...

I'm not much of a sports fan, but I do occasionally watch a good game, either tennis or even football. I might just tune in tomorrow for the fun. Thanks for the reminder, Tom. :-)

Tom said...

Another update: Bianca Andreescu won her semi-final match, and so on Saturday afternoon after 4 p.m. she will meet Serena Williams for the championship. Andreescu is trying for her first win. Williams is going for her 7th U. S. Open championship, and her 24th Grand Slam win.

Rafael Nadal beat Matteo Berrettini in his semi-final contest, and will meet Daniil Medvedev in the men's finals on Sunday afternoon.

gigi-hawaii said...

Exciting weekend. We are rooting for Serena and for Nadal.

Wisewebwoman said...

I've never been on a knitting retreat and one is booked for next weekend. I'm looking forward to it soooo much, just taking the time to do this is so out of the ordinary. Unplugging and yarn and needles and like minded souls.


David @iretiredyoung said...

When I lived in Dubai, I enjoyed going to the annual tennis tournament during the early rounds. There was always plenty of space and even the players a little further down the seeding are exceptional.

As to doing things in retirement just because we can, I found that August consisted almost entirely of such things. Some a little bigger, but all done because I now have the time and the mindset to get on an do them.

Welcome to My Blog! said...

Sounds like a fun day. I've been mostly exploring my own city whenever I can because it's hard to get away right now. I sneak off and do things like go to a botanical garden or hang out at a city lake. It's relaxing.

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