My First U.S. Open Experience

    Well – to make a long story short, I didn’t experience it. But if you want the full story, let’s start at the beginning shall we.

    I woke up early one morning and as normal I immediately checked Facebook. I saw that a FB friend of mine was doing a 16-person tour to the U.S. Open and she had 2 tickets left for the women’s final match on September 12th. I only needed one ticket but initially she said she was waiting for a couple to get back to her. Then she decided – fair is fair, it should be first come first serve, so she sold me a ticket. Oo lucky me!! Or so I thought.

    There was quite a buzz leading up to the event. For months we’ve been exchanging ideas through our dedicated FB page. Hotels, activities, dinner dates, maybe even take in a play. We were gearing up for a big weekend in NYC. Most of us didn’t want to see tennis, mind you. We just wanted to witness Serena make history.

    As the open progressed, the buzz grew more electric with every match Serena won. After she beat her sister, we just knew it was game on. There’s absolutely nothing stopping her now.

    Days before the Finals one FB pal posted “what do you wear to the U.S. Open?” and we went over rumored dos and donts for attire. I went out and bought a new outfit for the occasion. My future husband could be in the crowd! Everything must be perfect, I reasoned. Of course, this is where plans started to wrinkle.

    My personal plan was to get my nails done on Wednesday (check), hair done on Thursday (check), and fly to NYC on Friday (check). The semi-finals match was scheduled for Thursday evening and history was scheduled for Saturday. Basically, I would have known for sure whether or not Serena was truly in the Finals Thursday evening had things gone as scheduled. Well, as you know, a monsoon came through Thursday and pushed everything back. So Serena was to play the semi-final match sometime on Friday. As luck would have it, the match was re-scheduled to commence during my flight to NYC (I’m sure you can see where this is going). I land in NYC and go on Facebook to announce my arrival and I’m met with, “WTF,” “What just happened?,” and “didn’t see that coming.”

    FUCK! This can’t be happening. My heart sank but I went to ESPN to confirm the news anyway – Serena lost, hopes for history dashed. Here I am standing in the TAXI line with my jaw on the ground. I think someone pissed on my jaw while it was down there. UGH! Two no-names in the finals. Two Italians to boot. For those who know me, you know I had MANY bad experiences while living in Italy. It was nearly a decade ago – there’s still a bad taste in my mouth.

    Bottom line – I didn’t want to see this match. Now I’m adding up the cost; how much will I lose by walking away. Flights + hotel room + finals ticket = a lot. The whole thing was a gamble. And I’m not good at gambling. I never should have done it. Period. Now I’m getting closer to getting a taxi and I don’t know what to do next. Do I suck it up and spend a rainy weekend in NY? Or get the heck out of dodge and go somewhere I really want to be – even at a total loss. {Sure, I could find other things to do in NY. Or, I could even go and have a stress-free Open  experience, “just because.”} Ultimately, I picked the latter. I turned on my heels and went back into the airport to catch the next thing smoking to Atlanta. My bro was having a family BBQ on Saturday. And I was ONLY willing to miss that for history. Being with family beats watching two no-names in the finals any day. And the girl that beat Serena (whom I was somewhat rooting for since she’d overcome such great odds; and she was soo cute in her victory interview), didn’t even win! Go figure. Smh.

    For once, when someone asks “Where were you when …?” I want to be able to say, “I was there!” This was not that moment.

    My lesson learned from all this – don’t bet on history, go when it’s a sure thing.

      About Nadia Gilkes

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