I don’t understand how I can be so lucky sometimes; I must have been born under a lucky star or something. I recently stumbled into a once-in- a-lifetime experience while I was at work. One of Jay’s colleagues, Steve, had scored two premium tickets to watch the reigning Wimbeldon Champion, Serena Williams, play an exhibition tennis match in Philadelphia, and unfortunately Steve’s friend who was originally going to come wasn’t able to make it (unfortunate for Steve’s friend! NOT FOR ME OF COURSE!). I later found out that I was the third or fourth person Steve had tried to give the ticket to, but when I found out about the chance to see Serena “freaking” Williams play tennis, I was immediately down for the adventure!
I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to tag along with Steve. I didn’t realize that we were going to be living the V.I.P./Boss Status life! (Looking back I should have expected as much; Steve is probably the most “ghetto-fabolous” person I know…simply stated, he’s a P.I.M.P. with a capital “P”!)
You may be thinking that I’m exaggerating when I say “Boss Status”, but you have no idea! Before we even watched any tennis, Steve and I were able to see Serena give a private interview for about 40 people. We were served cold beverages and h'orderves on silver platters while we waited for the interview to begin. It was enough to make you feel like you were a celebrity yourself. We were even given free grab bags of stuff just for showing up. It was so cool to hear Serena talk about her recent Wimbeldon experience! She had hoisted the prestigious Wimbeldon Trophy only 9 days before and there we were sitting not 15 feet from her! You don’t have to say it, I know, total V.I.P.! (http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/match_reports/2009-07-04/200907041246717336796.html),
The VIP evening was not even close to being over. In fact it had really just begun. After listening to Serena’s interview we were escorted to a buffet tent that had been constructed outside exclusively for VIPs like me and Steve! It was kind of strange for me to be among so many people that reeked of money and “high society”. Everyone was dressed in designer clothes and looked like they had just come from the local country club; women with matching earrings, necklaces and bracelets were all around, and little kids were decked out in Lacoste “this” and Banana Republic “that”. While waiting in line for our food, Steve asked me, “Can you smell it?” at first I thought that he meant the food, but then I realized he was talking about all the money that surrounded us. I suppose that tennis is one of those sports that attracts a more affluent crowd. Much like other sports such as golf, horse-back riding, etc. it takes money to participate; not like basketball where all you need is a 15 dollar ball and you’re set! Also while waiting in line we unexpectedly brushed shoulders with Serena Williams as she passed us on her way to the court as well as the great tennis-icon Billie Jean King who is still affiliated with the sport. We were a little star-struck, but we played cool so as to fit in among the rest of our VIP counterparts. However, you can’t teach an old dog too many new tricks in one day; once we got to the food tables, we piled on as much as we could on our plates and stuffed our pockets with complimentary sodas and water bottles (I guess I have a ways to go before I’m to fit in among the cultured elitists of the greater Philadelphia area). Sufficiency fed and watered, we made our way to the stadium where the match would be played.
As we waited in line among the “commoners”, we over-heard a white man say that he hoped no one was sitting in his seat. Steve, being an African-American, turned to me and jokingly said that this was one of the biggest differences between white and black people. He said, “White people are always saying that they ‘hope nobody is sitting in their seat’. While a black person says ‘there better not be anyone in my seat or else!’” I had to laugh at the subtle truth in this statement.
I didn’t realize at first how good our seat actually were until one of the ushers started taking us to our seats. We were like the Energizer Bunny, we kept going and going and going down, closer and closer and closer to the court! When we finally did stop, we were right on top of CENTER COUNT sitting in the 5th ROW! Steve immediately began snapping pictures of Serena with his “paparazzi-approved” camera, and I did likewise with the camera on my phone. The exhibition was a team match that featured 2, four person teams (2 men and 2 women per team). 5 sets of tennis were to be played during the exhibition: 1 set of Women’s Singles, 1 set of Women’s Doubles, 1 set of Mixed Doubles, another of Men’s Doubles, and a final set of Men’s Singles. Steve and I stayed for the first 3 sets only because; let’s face it, after watching Serena Williams play tennis, who really wants to sit and watch a bunch of nobodies?! Besides when you’re a VIP you never stay till the end of anything! Show up late and leave early right?!
Before leaving the match I thought to myself, “Man, here I am sitting at center court in the 5th row! I’ve seen Serena Williams both play tennis and give a personal interview, I got catered meal, and all of this was comp-ed?! I could really get used to this!” (haha) It really was a once in a life-time experience, one that I won’t soon forget.
It's been a long time
2 years ago