I've just had two amazing days at Wimbledon. As a real tennis fan I was completely starstruck when John Isner walked right past me, and the Williams sisters were playing so close to me on an outside court. Today I had tickets for a show court so I was further away but I got to see a lot of my favorite stars, including the marathon between Federer and Del Potro. I wasn't on the right court to watch Andy Murray in person, but I joined the throng on Henman Hill (or is it now Murray Mound?) sitting on the wet grass and getting colder and colder. But I did watch him going through to the gold medal round. So exciting.
My husband couldn't understand this star-struck attitude. He'd rather watch on TV than see players in person. I love the atmosphere--people waving their national flags, chanting and clapping. It's like a giant collective heartbeat, feeling that one is part of an organism.
A couple of things surprised me: one was that so much alcohol is consumed. People were buying beer at ten this morning. There was Pimms and champagne for the more sophisticated. The group next to me on Murray Mound were buying bottles of champagne and kindly offered me a glass. I had a few sips, not wanting to drink in the middle of the day.
The other thing that surprised and annoyed me was that the volunteers are not allowed to fill empty seats. These people have given up two weeks of their lives to be Olympic volunteers. They pay their own expenses, sometimes including hotel bills in London. All they get for it is a uniform. And yet the organizers are being so strict that they let seats remain empty rather than let volunteers fill them during their free time. So wrong.
I think it's disheartening to the athletes to see rows of empty seats. Why not offer them to the military, to nurses, firemen, people who do public service?