Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wimbledon


Yesterday, I was able to cross off another item from my "101 Things I Want to Do Before I Die" list! I attended Wimbledon! Ever since I started playing tennis, I have always dreamed of going of seeing The Championships Wimbledon in person. Wimbledon is one of the few (if not only) major sporting event that reserves a significant number of tickets available for purchase the day of the event. While most of the tickets for the show courts are sold in advance to corporations, groups, schools, etc, all of the groundspasses (over 30,000) are on first come, first serve basis. This is a time honored tradition that I am convinced is not found anywhere else. I arrived at the grounds a little before 9am with no idea what to expect. I quickly learned that "queueing for tickets" is taken for seriously and everyone becomes very prepared (blankets, picnic breakfasts, books, etc). Some people had even camped out overnight for the 500 tickets available for centre court. There is even an entire pamplet distributed to everyone entitled "A Guide to Queueing for the Championships." With just my camera and small purse, I joined the que. We were all informed by an Honory Steward, decked out in jacket, tie, and hat, that we needed all soon receive que cards that would guarantee a ticket. After standing/sitting in the que for about a half an hour, we received our que cards. I happily accepted card number 5,640...not too bad for my first attempt queueing for tickets. After receiving our que cards, it became a waiting game. Around 10am, the Stewards began to move the lines toward the turnstiles as the grounds opened at 10:30am. After being led towards the turnstiles, we then waited in a long line that slowing moved towards the grounds. Right around noon (the start time for the first matches), I finally passed through security (yes, they put all bags through an x-ray machine), paid my 20 pounds in cash (no credit cards accepted), and was standing on the grounds of the All England Club. The entire process was extremely well organized and easy. The whole experience was AMAZING. Even though I could not see the show courts, I saw some great tennis and some of the top players in the world. I am going to head back there later in the week and que for evening tickets (you can get buy tickets as people leave the grounds for only 5 pounds to see the late day matches). It is crazy to believe that this is all just a tube ride away from my flat. I will definitely post some pictures after round two!
Cheers!

4 comments:

Eyal said...

Next year we expect you to be playing in Center Court! Maybe you and Jiggy in mixed doubles?

Lynne said...

Perfect timing for your move - just in time for Wimbleton. Sounds like a wonderful experience. Look forward to seeing your pictures.

peter said...

Just beware of that hooligan with the "Ticketmeister" t-shirt scalping Centre Court tickets...

Anonymous said...

Do they serve tea in the stands and if so, do they offer earl grey?