I am a fan of sports. But not being a fan of crowds I tend to limit myself to television coverage. Recently we were given a pair of “Prestige Passes” to attend the Rogers Cup ATP event in Montreal.
With a sunny day forecast, free parking provided and fifth-row seats how could I say no. So off we went to Parc Jarry in the city’s northern section, a place I had not been to since I worked on the Pope’s visit in 1984. The new tennis facility which integrates the original home of the Montreal Expos is lovely.
We took our seats in the fifth row to watch a match pitting American Ernesto Escobedo against Nikoloz Basilashvili of the Georgia. Settling in I was pleased that there were several empty seats to my right, affording me plenty of room and no claustrophobic feelings at all.
I have attended hockey games, football games, baseball games, Formula 1 races, even a few soccer matches. What always strikes me, particularly in the case of F1 races, is how television coverage does not do justice to the speed of the event. In person, one understands just how fast hockey players skate and shoot the puck. The speed of a fastball is clearly evident from box seats. A football running-back’s dart down the field and the physical contact of the game are impressive, to say the least.
Then there is tennis.
This was my second professional tennis match. The first was many years ago and featured Gabriela Sabatini. On both occasions, I came away thinking how slow the game is in person. With the exception of the delivery of services, or serves, which are tremendously fast. Tennis looks better on TV to this armchair athlete.