"In this sticky web that we're all in, behaving decently is no small task." -- Novelist Stacey D'Erasmo

Saturday, August 27, 2022

It's That Time of Year Again

     I have a friend who watches every single game of the NY Mets. I guess that's one way to spend your retirement.

     But I am not much of a sports fan. I don't watch baseball or hockey or basketball. I never watched much football, either, until we moved to the Philadelphia area the year the Eagles won the Super Bowl. However, since then the Eagles have faded, and so my interest in football has faded as well.

     But one sport I like to watch is tennis -- at least the majors. The U. S. Open starts next week. This past week brought us the qualifying matches, which give 128 young, lower ranked players a chance to get into the tournament. If a player wins three qualifying matches he or she will earn a place in the main draw.

     This is the first year the qualifying rounds have been open to the public since before Covid, in 2019. So I arranged to meet up with my son -- a former college tennis player who lives in Brooklyn -- to catch the action on Thursday. We like to go to the qualifiers, even though we don't see the big names, because it's free (instead of costing hundreds of dollars), and it's not crowded so we can sit right up close to the court (instead of 20 or 30 rows back).

Fans file in and out past banners of past champions

     So I drove over to Hamilton, NJ, took New Jersey transit to Penn Station, then the Long Island railroad to the stadium. I left home at 8 a.m. and arrived just before 11, in time to rendezvous with my son and see the matches start.

     We saw a young American amateur Ethan Quinn (Ranked 506), a freshman at the University of Georgia, lose to a more seasoned player from Argentina. American Zach Svajda (Ranked 306), lost to a Swiss. But American Brandon Holt (Ranked 296) upset a higher-ranked player from Ecuador. And we saw Chris Eubanks (Ranked 147) beat a pro from France.

Holt hammers a serve

     Both Holt and Eubanks went on to win their matches on Friday. So both of these young men will be playing in the main tournament, which starts on Monday and continues to the finals -- the women's final on Sept. 10 and the men's on Sunday, Sept. 11. 

     You probably won't see Holt or Eubanks in the finals. More likely it will be Rafael Nadal, defending champ Daniil Medvedev or possibly the young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas who we saw play as a 21-year-old qualifier when we went to the Open in 2019.

Banks ready to return

     The women's finals might feature Serena Williams -- she has announced her retirement and this is the last major tournament for her -- or more likely defending champ Emma Raducanu from England or Iga Swiatek from Poland, or possibly American Coco Gauff.

     Just in case you want to know about those other sports . . . current betting gives the Eagles a pretty good chance of getting to the playoffs -- better odds than the Saints or the Seahawks, not as good as defending champs LA Rams or the current favorites the Buffalo Bills.

I also like watching the planes come into LaGuardia airport

     And as for the baseball World Series at the end of October? The LA Dodgers are favored -- with the Yankees, the Houston Astros and the NY Mets (yes, the Mets who are in first place!) given a decent chance. I'll have to put that on my calendar because honestly, otherwise I'd probably forget.  And I promise -- that's all the sports you'll get from me.


Arkansas Patti said...

I'm a huge baseball fan but record the games so I can fast forward past commercials, pitching changes and challenges. I am a Marlins fan so my goals are that we get at least one hit so we can't be no hit and get at least one run so we aren't shut out. Winning one game in a series is nice:) Sigh.
You might be right about the betting odds for the rest of the sports.
Haven't watched tennis in a while but when I did, I went to tournaments and live action is so much better. Enjoy.

Kay said...

I'm not a sports fan like the rest of my family. My husband still keeps close watch over the Cubs and Bears.
However, we were glued to the TV today as our Hawaii Little Leaguers played against Tennessee for the U.S. championship. They'll be playing Curacao tomorrow for the World. And yes, I will watch it.

As for the October World Series, Hawaii usually roots for the Dodgers, I think.

Olga said...

Late '70s/early 80s, there was a professional tennis match held at Stratton Mtn. ski area. We got to watch in person some of the American greats of the day. Although my daughter was at the age where she preferred not to be seen with any member of her family, she made the exception to watch Bjorn Borg play and perhaps spot him off the court as well.

gigi-hawaii said...

David watches sports on TV every day. He is a fanatic. Me? I just glance at the games now and then when he points out something outstanding to watch. He wears his headphones so the noise won't bother me.

Savoring Sixty said...

Back in the late 70's and early 80's we were huge tennis fans. We enjoyed watching some of the best in those days - Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graff and Pete Sampras were a few of our favorites. (Bjorn Borg was my ultimate favorite - just watching him running around the court with his strong arms, toned legs, and his hair under the sweat band - ahhh!!) But I digress. Then kids came along, and their activities became our main focus and life just kind of got in the way. Today, I don't think I could tell you one tennis player's name except Serena Williams. Glad you got to go - it is fun to be present when the action is happening.

Rian said...

Even though I enjoyed watching football games at the stadium when we were attending LSUBR (over 50 years ago), I've never enjoyed watching sports on TV. DH does, he and the boys watch football and soccer games anytime they're available. DH, his brothers,and sons "talk and text" football and soccer. Actually, my sister-in-law does also. And it's great! Just not my cup of tea, but I will gladly make goodies to eat during the games or listen to the excited screams when a goal is made, etc. And you are right, it's that time again!

Chris said...

Thank you for It's That Time of Year Again

Rita said...

What a great idea to see some good tennis and visit with your son. The price sounds right.

Wisewebwoman said...

I played a lot of tennis in my time so anything tennis I love to watch as there is so much skill, particularly in the legs. Serena is magic.
Lovely you spent time with your son.

Jennifer (UnfoldAndBegin) said...

I find I don't watch sports as much as I used to when I was younger. I loved NBA basketball back in the 70s, loved UConn women's basketball in the 90s. My sister and I were season ticket holders for the New England Blizzard part of the ABL that was started before the WNBA. Too bad they folded a couple of years later.

Rebecca Olkowski said...

I don't watch sports but will always be a Dodger fan. Still reeling from Vin Scully leaving us this year.