August 29, 2008

A Day at the US Open

The Summer Olympics are fading out of view. The confetti from the Democratic National Convention is being swept away. But, the grand daddy of all end-of-summer events, the one I excitedly await every year, is currently in full swing: The US Open tennis tournament in New York.

Being a tennis player and fan, it’s one sporting event I’ll voluntarily watch on TV. Best of all, since we live within two hours of New York, attending the Open has become an annual tradition.

Walking around the grounds of the US Tennis Center is unlike any sporting experience EVER! There’s a New York City vibe about the whole experience. The crowds are civilized and almost genteel. Since most of the people watching, play the sport, you’ll easily strike up a conversation with a stranger to compare playing notes.

It’s by far the best value in sports, too. For the price of a $60 ticket, you can walk between three stadium and a dozen outdoor courts to watch the most famous tennis players in the world. For many matches, you can sit so close you see the fuzz on the ball and the sweat on the players’ brows.

It is just awesome!!

Yesterday was our big day to attend the Open. I bought the tickets months ago when they first went on sale (even so, our seats for the main stadium had their own zip code!). The night before we left, travel plans were coordinated, train schedules researched, child care arrangements finalized and event-gear, like binocular, snacks and water, were packed. I was rushed, but I was sure I’d crossed my “t’s” and dotted my “i’s.”

The trip up on the train is always lots of fun. Tennis fans overtake public transportation, replacing the usual tourists and business travelers. The excitement builds as the US Tennis Center nears.

Since my friends and I are involved in our local tennis community, we always see people we know. This year was no exception. As my husband, my tennis partner and I made our way to the US Open complex with the 35,000 other people attending yesterday, we amazingly ran into two groups of friends who had just arrived by the same train as we had. Standing under the banner, “Welcome to the US Open,” we paused to chat, bubbling with excitement for the day ahead of us.

It was in that moment of light-hearted banter, my blood ran cold. I realized in horror I had forgot something.

Our tickets!!!!

The three of them were sitting at home on my desk. In the chaos of crossing those “t’s” and dotting those “i’s,” I’d completely forgotten the most important detail. What could we do? I pulled my husband aside. He took one look at the horrified look on my face knew said, “Don’t even tell me what I think you’re going to say.”

Going home and coming back would take at least four hours, so that was obviously out of the question. I had no proof with me I’d even bought the tickets. I was ready to cry that I’d ruined the day for my husband and my friend. My mind raced, “Think. Think. Think.” There had to be an answer. Then an idea came. One of the friends we had just run into had one of the four tickets I’d purchased. Led by my tennis partner who can sweet talk her way into anything and armed with one of our tickets as proof that our story was hopefully credible, we went to the ticket office and pled our case.

Luckily, thankfully, the story has a happy ending. With our one ticket, my husband’s credit card, my feeble forms of ID (like my USTA card…how did I remember THAT and not the tickets) and some verbal information, the ticket agent could identify my purchase and issued new tickets! Hooray!!!

Crisis averted! But what are the chances at the very moment I realized my mistake, we ran into the only person who had any physical proof that our tickets even existed! (Thank you, Lord!)

In the end we had a wonderful day. We bopped from court to court watching spectacular tennis and having a great time. A highlight was watching the doubles players (like the Bryan brothers, pictured.) We arrived home late last night, exhausted but filled from the day.

I’ll be following the US Open closely on TV in the days ahead. And I already look forward to next year’s trip. But something tells me I won’t be in charge of tickets!

As stupid as I felt for my mistake, I know I’m not the first (or last) person to do something so dumb and potentially disastrous. I’ve heard stories of parents leaving their children places. What have you forgotten or left at home, only to realize in a moment of horror, “Oh, no!”?

Happy Labor Day!


Runner Mom said...

Hey, Kelli! My husband would LOVE to go there one day! He's a big tennis fan and former player!

I am so sorry about your ticket adventure! But, isn't our God good??? Oh, my word! I am so glad that all worked out well.

Something that a friend of ours forgot--this time not me!!--was his driver's liscense. He wasn't concerned about the fact that a police officer could pull him over, and there was no ID. His concern was about the duathlon that he, my husband, and another friend were going to participate in down in Alabama! At least we were only 2.5 hours(out of 5 hours) into the drive before he realized it and had to turn around. You see, in order to partcipate--get your race number,markings, etc., you have to have your driver's liscense! No Id, no race!! I've never seen this godly man so upset before! But, like you, he realized it early enough so that everything turned out fine! God is good!

Enjoy your Labor Day!
Love ya,

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelli,

I loved your story. I cant remember ever forgetting anything inpt but I am such a basket case before we go anywhere that it would probalby be better if I left something home instead of bringing
my headache and stress with me :)

I am glad it all worked out for you

Take Care


Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

Hi, Kelli!

My heart was pounding just read glad God provided an angel to help you with your tickets! :)

Jim receives tickets through his work, and we are going on Sunday. :)

Love the new look of your blog!

Enjoy the last few days of summer break!


Justin said...

Hey, Kelli!

I love the new look of your blog! And you've inspired me to one day visit the US Open in person. What a cool event!

Romans 15:13,


christine said...

The new look is fabulous! With regard to the forgotten tickets, I'm happy to know that I'm not the only airhead in town! Keep up the great work.
Love and blessings, Christine M.

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, it's so cool that you live close enough to New York City to attend what sounds like your favorite event. I would love to see New York, but so far I've never traveled further east than St. Louis. Maybe some day...