The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Coleman Bandy: At the Olympics

August 6, 2012

BLOG: Tennis brings back childhood memories

According to my mother, even when I was too young to remember, my life goal was to go to every Grand Slam tennis event in person.  I had been a tennis player since I was about five years old, and I idolized Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, and Roger Federer.  Seeing them play on the biggest stage of all was a personal dream.

Luckily, I was given the opportunity to go to New York and watch the U.S. Open for a few years when I was a teenager.  It was an amazing experience, as I finally got to watch my heroes play in front of me.  It was a dream come true.

So, last week, when I got a chance to watch the Olympic tennis quarterfinals at Wimbledon, I felt like a kid again, albeit for a short time.  I was able to see the likes of Roger Federer, American John Isner, Novak Djokovic, and Maria Sharapova.  Watching the matches with my friend Brendan, I surely annoyed him with my incessant talking.  (“Dude, dude.  That’s Roger Federer.  I mean, he’s the greatest tennis player in history.”)

We found our in the crowd, and soon after the audience started cheering, despite the fact that no players were yet on the court.  Sure enough, as I looked up, Prince William and Kate Middleton had entered the building, sitting in the royal box.  The audience continued to gush over the couple.  We got out our cameras and started taking photos.  This was more than a tennis match, this was an Olympic spectacle, now involving the royal family.  For once, tennis was more than a big deal just to me; and entire country was behind it, as the tournament was being played at Wimbledon, the world’s most prestigious tennis club.

We got in line between matches, and I couldn’t help but try the famous Wimbledon strawberries and cream, and I also indulged in an English chicken sandwich, cream sauce and all.  I had seen the U.S. Open in New York, with all of that New York City flair, but now I was experiencing a new side of my favorite sport, the classier English side.  It gave me a whole new perspective on the cultural differences between the United Kingdom and the U.S.

When the matches ended, I was disappointed, but filled with a sense of childlike wonder.  For a brief time, I was a kid again, sitting in Centre Court and gushing about my idols, playing right in front of me.

 

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Coleman Bandy: At the Olympics
  • BLOG: Tennis brings back childhood memories

    According to my mother, even when I was too young to remember, my life goal was to go to every Grand Slam tennis event in person.  I had been a tennis player since I was about five years old, and I idolized Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, and Roger Federer.  Seeing them play on the biggest stage of all was a personal dream.

    August 6, 2012

  • BLOG: A memorable meeting with Matt Grevers

    In front of the Today Show set, the mood was triumphant. Americans lined the front row of the queue, waiving their U.S. flags, and cheering for recent Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers. The basketball arena roared with applause close behind as Spain took the court to challenge Australia, but the atmosphere surrounding the small, circular set was celebratory, as Americans cheered for their recent champion.

    July 31, 2012

  • BLOG: London beaming with pride

    The usually busy East London felt like a ghost town.

    July 29, 2012