Thursday, March 16, 2017

What a shot!

You're not going to believe this but this was my and Camille's 10th year* of going to that lovely tennis tournament out in the desert. (It actually has a name. It's the BNP Paribas Open and it's the 5th largest tennis tournament in the world, just after the 4 grand slams.) It's hard to believe right? And I do appreciate you letting me bore you with pictures and tales of the shirtless old men who hang out there. You can scroll through every March archive of this old blog and see recaps of our adventures on the surface of the sun. Let's not break with tradition.

1. Aside from the tennis, and the frozen lemonade, and all the sunshine, the best part of the event is all the people watching we get in. At the very first match we went to I pointed out a guy sitting across the way with blindingly white teeth. We joked about how he must be a dentist with an addiction to the whitening lamp. Then shortly afterwords I noticed a lady in the same section with an interesting hat so Camille took a picture in order to zoom in so we could figure out what was on it. So here's the first picture:

And here's the hat:

Dolls, it turned out. Look, the sun is punishing and I wore an outrageously large number the whole weekend so I'm not going to judge any one's head gear. You do you, Doll Hat Lady! Also notice Santa, and the faces of the two guys in the front.

But look what else she captured:

SUPER WHITE TEETH GUY! Just smiling away and wondering when he can get back to his lamp. 

2. I would like all of us to take a moment to appreciate that the man pictured below chose to wear this outfit in public.

That's an orange sweatsuit--shorts edition. Bold move, friend.

3. We sat in the front row the whole weekend. Bleachers are for noobs. Don't tell anyone though. I don't want word getting around that one of the perks of the front row is that you can use the extra drinks barrel behind the player seats as a hat rack. 

4. The last match we attended was Feliciano Lopez and Dusan Lajovic. Now, you should know that Andy Murray's mom's nickname for Feliciano is Deliciano Lopez, and not for nothing. He is not ugly. And there is a lot of cat-calling going on from the ladies in the stands. After the warm up and right before the match started the two players were at their seats and Feliciano was drinking some water and then suddenly he tilted his head back and poured the water over it and shook out his hair. And all four of us (Lindsay and Susie joined us for Saturday) just kind of stared, like everything was in slow motion and a funky bass line was playing in the distance. It was memorable. So then the match started and the first set ended and Lajovic, as many players do, took off his shirt to changed it, and immediately after Lopez poured more water over his head. As if to say, "Challenge accepted!" We had a real sexy-off on our hands. All of that changed once Lopez blew his nose into his towel. But for a while things were smoldering. It was an awesome match, Lopez lost and jetted off the court in a flash but Lajovic, who we were sitting directly behind, packed up and then threw his (clean and unused) towel at Camille. Like it was a Wayne Newton concert or something. 

5. We caught the first few games of a doubles match and this is how the guy at the net stood, in case you're looking to improve your form.

6. We've been going long enough to remember when the grounds used to be filled with orange trees in full bloom. It smelled like heaven on earth. But they took them all out to build Stadium 2 and a tacky bar. We thought they were all gone but we lucked into a great parking spot that brought us through an entrance we had never used before and lo, there were orange trees in bloom. We all stopped and breathed deeply. Except for Susie who is from New York so the smell of orange blossoms is not part of her genetic make-up. But she humored us and took a whiff and managed to be a creeper in this picture of Camille sniffing.

Other delights:

Trying to guess the ball kids' names and shouting it out to see if they would look. "Hey, Charlotte!" "Ethan, over here!" and the stranger next to me cracking up when she realized what we were doing. You should totally sit next to us at sporting events. We're hilarious. 

Hearing the 80 year old Tennis Sage sitting behind us who had a massive speech impediment shout out, "What a shot!" except is sounded like "What a szchot!"  

The court manager giving us each a tennis ball, just because. I don't know, we tend to generate a lot of good will. 

All the people from different countries support their players. Croatia was in the house. Romania was in the same house with a bigger flag.

The ball kid coordinator who was so positive with them - cheering them on, reminding them to drink water and put on sunscreen -- that we had to stop him to compliment him on his efforts and then he ended up being a real close talker and telling us his entire life story (grew up in Van Nuys, was a teacher for 34 years, 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren, lives next door to the tennis gardens, living the dream) and that people are really drawn to him because he "exudes positivity." I'll say!

Standing in the security line, jostling for a better position, and saying to Camille,"You've got to use strategery." And the lady behind me saying, "That's not a word." So I explained it to her because we had plenty of time. And then about a half hour later I'm coming out of the bathroom stall and I hear someone shout, "Stategery!" at me. Line Lady!

The full moon rising in between palm trees over purple mountains as we walked back to our car on the last night. Perfection.

*Not consecutive. It would have been our 11th but Camille left on her mission right after we went our first time and we missed a year. Whatever Camille.