Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Best Event Nobody Goes To

We went to the West Side Tennis Club yesterday for the Sony Ericsson Women's WTA Finals. Here's how it went:

Walked in the front gate. Paid $10 for myself, the two-year old boy was free. Walked through the clubhouse onto the raised terrace which was serving brunch. There were plenty of tables available over looking the grass courts. Absolutely beautiful. There was a live pianist. It seemed like mostly members, because everyone was in their playing whites.

It was a little too hot, so we strolled through the grounds to the stadium where they had the event.

A sponsor tent was next to the stadium. It was upscale and well-staffed. It was like being at a private corporate event, not a public tennis match.

You were greeted by someone in front who gave you two tickets for free alchoholic beverages. Then representatives from companies like Dean's Beans (organic coffee beans) or Stoli gave you free samples of their product. There was also a huge bucket filled with icy Arcadia water bottles and sports drink. All of it free.

A local radio station supplied music at another tent. And representatives from the West Side Tennis Club answered questions about membership.

On the courts adjacent to Center Court where they had the Women's Finals, there were games for kids, with cones and an inflatable clown who you had to hit. The best part about it - the tennis pros were super cool and everyone got as long a turn as they wanted. Because attendance wasn't that high, kids played all day.

Even my two year old took whacks. For playing, we got a free t-shirt and key chain. And because he was having such a great time and we didn't want to hold up the other kids, the pros let us hit on a side court to ourselves! I mean, it was just me tossing the ball to the little boy, but it was on a beautiful clay court and they never once came over and said time was up.

The only problem was the boy was so proud of the free t-shirt (which was way too big and went down to his knees) he wouldn't take it off at the birthday party we had that afternoon.

Close to the start of the match, there were a few more people, but the tent and grounds were still very wide open. And there were still plenty free samples of drinks, snacks, coffee, booze, etc. And all of it while twelve year olds from Bablyon fight over paying $6 for a Sprite in Flushing Meadows.

It was an amazing event for Forest Hills and I think we should all be there next year. There's food on the terrace overlooking the grass courts, free drinks by the stadium (including alcholic ones), tennis games for the kids, music, and the class of people is strictly Forest Hills, no weekenders.

Hope to see you there next year. I guarantee you won't be sorry. And congratulations to Gisela Dulko who won the match.