OK, so, admittedly, it’s been awhile* since I last blogged: Just under 5 months, if anyone’s counting (and Jane, I KNOW you are) — and I do not have a good excuse for going so long between posts … although I do have a pretty damn good reason for not paying all that much attention to my bloggie in recent months … plus I know, in my heart of hearts, that anyone who truly needs A Daily Dose of Di usually knows where to find me, online and otherwise.

Anyhoo, I could not let today’s awesome yet ultimately heartbreaking men’s championship match between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick go by without reminiscing about and even celebrating the 10-year anniversary of when I had a childhood dream come true and got to go to the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon. (My ACTUAL childhood dream involved playing a point on Centre Court, while one of my, uhm, adult fantasies involves making out there. Neither of those occurred during my 1999 trip to Wimbledon, of course, but I did get to see Pete Sampras and Venus Williams play matches on Centre Court.)

Not saying I would have been able to play a point there, either, because before I even left the United States — in fact, just as I boarded the Metra in a South Side suburb of Chicago to begin the second leg of the journey (the one that would take us Downtown to catch a cab to O’Hare) — I suffered a horrible ankle sprain, thanks to a lame-brain conductor who insisted I move from one mostly empty train car into another mostly empty train car. While I was still standing in the inclined aisle of the mostly empty train car I was already in, the train began moving, and as it lurched forward, I staggered and my right ankle rolled completely over and all kinds of pain ensued. But, what the heck: Who needs two good ankles for activities like running through airports or walking through the grounds of Wimbledon or leisurely strolling through London and Paris?

However, the incident made for some funny stories, later, and gave me ample opportunities  to show off my spot-on British accent whilst telling them, so it was not an entirely bad thing.

What do I remember most about Wimbledon?

  • Seeing Anna Kournikova making her way toward the practice courts just as our bus dropped us off.
  • Watching Steffi Graf practicing on an outer court.
  • Laughing as Martina Hingis, whom I believe was the No. 1 seed, lost in the first round on Court 1. (I had gotten tickets for that court off some guy I found on the Internet. I will admit, it was a little scary: I sent him some money and he said he would send the tickets, known as Debentures, to the hotel where I was staying — and when I arrived at the Henley House Hotel, the tickets were actually there!)
  • Marveling over how small Centre Court looked when Pete Sampras played on it. (I swear, he served the ball and got to the net in, like, 2 steps!)

Mostly, I just remember wandering around the outer courts and noticing how everything was so GREEN — from the grass courts to the overall color scheme of the tennis facility. And I recall smiling over how much bigger Centre Court was than it looks on television … and also how much bigger it was than the lawn of the house I grew up in, where Debra and I and various neighorhood kids played badminton rather than tennis but still referred to our ongoing tournaments each summer as Wimbledon.

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I never thought Andy Roddick would make it to another Grand Slam final, let alone put up such an incredible fight before going down 16-14 in the 5th set of Wimbledon.

I admit: I gave up on Roddick years ago. He always struck me as sort of a one-shot wonder: Big serve, no real game to back it up. Too slow. Too inconsistent. Not enough heart. True, he has a U.S. Open title to his credit, but that was WAY BACK in 2003 (seems SO long ago, doesn’t it?), and although he’s had a couple of chances to play for a Wimbledon title before, once those opportunities came and went, I never, ever thought he’d get another chance to play for the championship, let alone win it.

And it’s possible, perhaps even probable, that he won’t ever win Wimbledon. But, wow: He gave it everything he had today, and I found myself not only hoping but also believing that he would win the match. And when it was over, I found myself feeling so, so bad for him — yet I was also so thankful I got to see the effort he put in because that, to me, is what sports in general and tennis in particular are all about: Playing your best and giving it your all, win or lose.

He reaffirmed my faith that, indeed, anything is possible. In fact, everything is.

Believe it!

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* — After using the phrase “it’s been awhile,” I am, OF COURSE, reminded of the song by the same name by Staind … and my favorite line: “And it’s been awhile / but I can still remember just the way you taste.”

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