Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wimbledon

Today I fulfilled a lifelong dream: to visit the All England Lawn Tennis Club, home of Wimbledon. It didn't even matter that the tournament had been over for a couple of weeks, I still count the excursion as a major achievement in my life as a tourist (leaving just Euro-Disney and the Corn Palace to complete the list). I took the guided tour of the grounds and visited the tennis museum, which had some really good exhibits about tennis through the ages (ladies used to play in corsets and stockings; one of the sponsor's give-aways in the 1920s was a pack of smokes). The grounds of the club look a lot smaller in person (why is that true of so many things? People are always talking about how television rots the brain, how come no one complains about how is skews the sense of size?), but seeing Centre Court, the press area, Court 18 where the epic 138-game match took place this year, and all the other places I've watched on TV since I was about 12, was super-exciting. Membership of the club is about 375, there is a waiting list of about 1,000 and a rigorous screening process to get in. Our guide told us that the easiest way to get in (and the dues aren't even that much - less than a gym), is to win the tournament since all singles winners become honorary members.

The tour was really enjoyable, but one thing you are absolutely, totally, and without equivocation NOT allowed to do on the tour of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, is touch the grass.

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