There are package tours to all the great sporting events – The Masters, Wimbledon, The Bullring Test….
I’m envious of those who go and certain they return with lifelong memories.
But part of the great charm of John Green’s wonderful travelogue has been its “discovery” aspect – virtually stumbling across gems of magical moments. In “The Day I set out for Ipswich” (http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/the-day-i-set-out-for-ipswich/) he sets out for an FA Cup tie in Suffolk but ends up at Blackpool – a lucky “slip up”, as it ‘appens.
Sometimes the circumstantial flukes become the best.
The tennis can provide such occasions.
I remember being on my way out of (probably then) Flinders Park late afternoon in Jan 1991 and seeing some spare seats on a court hosting Boris Becker. As he lead 2-nil (7-6, 7-6), most pundits assumed the match to be in its “sunset”. I grabbed a spot to watch the final phases. Somehow, though, the momentum shifted, “Boom-Boom” became enraged and Omar Camporese clawed back, winning the next 2 sets 6-0, 6-4. Now the joint was heaving and I was running late. Then ensued an incredible finale….as the match passed its 5 hrs mark I could see Steffi Graf crouched courtside willing on her compatriot as the crowd gasped and the matched lurched. Becker won 14-12. I’d fluked a classic.
Indirectly, tennis was also responsible for another such opportune “lucked in”. I’d dropped by an Ale House in West London for a cricket score only to have the bar staff insist on leaving the TV fixed to women’s doubles at Wimbledon. Furious, I walked down to St John’s Wood and was rewarded by probably the best innings I’ve ever witnessed - C. G. Greenidge’s breathtaking 214no to smash the Poms at the home of cricket.
“Seize The Day” works as a good motto for sports fans, for the best memories are sometimes discovered unexpectedly.