Wimbledon From The Inside: Part Three
Originally published on: 26/02/10 14:14
Now you’re talking. This is Wimbledon how we always dream it should be A Brit, out on Centre Court winning. Amazing! OK, so he’s Scottish and fiercely so (and don’t we all know it) but who cares, he’s effectively one of ours and he’s damn well winning.
To top it off, the sun is shining, it’s almost warm enough to take your duffle coat off and sales of Amber Solaire for once are thankfully outstripping those of brollies.
People are jostling one another for a spicy sausage, and I have to say it’s worth the kerfuffle they are legendary
SW19 is a regular garden party right now, as I dash through the meandering crowds trying to get from A to B with speed, I brush past relaxed spectators in their hordes, posting all manner of over-priced goodies down themselves.
The Dutchee stand is definitely a winner and the queue is getting a little out of hand, people are jostling with each other for a spicy sausage, and I have to say it’s worth the kerfuffle they are legendary. The ‘Red Hot & Blue’ band is tinkling away and happy faces are quaffing Pimms everywhere. Good times.
Yesterday I went to visit a very good friend of mine who is high up in Umpires. Not literally, he doesn’t do the chairs any more he’s progressed to a position of even greater authority and I believe he is responsible for something along the lines of allocating lines judges and umpires to matches.
Quite a task when you take into consideration the sheer number of matches going on here, and the teams of officials required to service them. It’s a feat of spectacular planning. Needless to say when I enter the office, the place is buzzing and my friend is a little stressed.
I get stopped at the door by security (good work, security) but hastily waved in by another umpiring friend I know from my tournament-running days. He seems to look a little, shall we say, ‘beaten up’.
I chat a while and find out that he actually has been beaten up. Poor guy. He comes all the way to The Big City for the tournament of the year and on one of his rare evenings off after an early finish during Qualifying, he takes a jaunt up to the West End and gets mugged. He really took a whack to the face but he seems oddly chirpy about it.
That’s one thing about Umpires, they do have the capacity to always seem cheerful. At events I myself used to struggle on occasion with the seemingly never-ending ‘ground hog days’ of matches, but as long as they get their chips and toasties on a regular basis, all is well in their world.
Heaven forbid the sports centre caf