My daughter Anna and I love tennis and have played it for many years. We used to play together, until she got so good that it was a little scary to be on the other side of the net from her. She’s a 6 foot tall lefty who could give you a concussion if she connected your head with one of her volleys. You can’t ever relax when you’re playing her because it’s almost impossible to get out of the way of her 100+ mph evil kick out wide serve. O.K., pretty much any of her shots are frightening, especially if they’re coming toward your face. She appears to be a very nice woman, but it’s really a trap. She lures you into underestimating her with a sweet disposition and pretty smile. Then, she hits an overhead near you that’s just a little too close for comfort. She says she’s “sorry”, but you’re not so sure she really means it. At this point, the seed of fear has been planted, and you know you’ll never come near the net again. I think she’s kind of like a tennis assassin in disguise. Let’s just say it’s a relief that she’s found her own group of super-athletes to play with and I don’t have to be her victim anymore.
She knows what a fan of the game I am, and she generously made plans for us to spend the day at the BNP Paribas Tennis Tourney held in Indian Wells, Ca. It’s one of the biggest tournaments of the year and all the top pros were going to be there. It was sunny, in a gorgeous setting and we planned to cram in all the tennis watching we could in one day. There are several outdoor stadiums to choose from and you can wander the grounds, from the beer tent to the practice courts. We decided to not have too much of a plan, and just find whatever tennis suited our fancy.
We started with a John Isner singles match, pretty cool because he’s cute and super tall and we had a chance to witness a 141 mph serve…it’s kind of like watching a round green fuzzy bullet being shot from a tennis racket. As Conrad likes to say, he “pwned” the serve. We then mixed it up with a women’s singles match and found a good one that lasted almost three hours. We saw what zero body fat and unbelieveable fitness looks like. Inspiring? No, more like impossible. So, we were inspired instead to have a beer and soft pretzels before the next match.
We saw Sharapova from the nose bleed section of the main stadium and still managed to hear her shriek. We randomly wandered by Nadal on a practice court, a beautiful view of perfection. We finished our day with a men’s doubles match and hit the road. We had a really fun day and had our fill of what great tennis looks like. Even better, we also had hours of good people watching and plenty of mock-worthy material to dish on the way home.
What we observed:
Wearing a tennis outfit when you’re not a player nor a ball kid….ummm, no.
Bringing your infant to the outdoor, no shade event, where it’s about 90 degrees…ummm, no.
Wandering the grounds shirtless and you’re not a player in the tournament…ummm, no.
Analyzing Nadal’s forehand really loudly while watching him practice….ummm, no.
Hanging your disgusting, calloused smelly feet over the back of the chair two seats down from me; complete with chipped toenail polish….ummm, no.
Yelling “Let’s go Maria”! from the nose bleed section of the stadium over and over. The only person hearing you was me….ummm, no.
Disputing line calls by hissing, like somehow you know more than the line call guy, sitting way closer to the line than you…ummm, no.
We did make a fortunate discovery. All the good tennis players are tall…ummm yes! Anna was finally with her “people” She wasn’t the tallest one there. She walked by 6’9″ Isner and came up to his shoulder…Yea! She didn’t get one comment from a total stranger asking her how tall she is. No one asked her if she played basketball. No one asked her why she was so tall. She had a day off from weird comments from weird people. That was worth the price of admission alone. We’re already making plans to go back next year, mainly so she can walk free amongst her kind, the really tall kind. She might even wear heels.