Wimbledon is over for yet another year. Life always feels a little empty after these two weeks have come and gone. Like any major sporting event, it fills the gaps in your day, giving you something to do before you know what to do with your time, or engrossing you to the point that you dare not leave the room to go to the toilet.
I think “sports” get a bad rap. So does the excitement of “sports fans,” which sometimes seems pointless, boring, or just plain crazy. But I love the connected feeling that you get from watching big events on TV. Sometimes it feels like everybody is watching. I like the relationship between spectacle and spectators, how the crowd becomes a single entity, willing athletes to succeed. I’ve always been a casual enthusiast, but it’s only recently that I’ve realized how much I have grown to love sport of almost any kind.
There has always been a part of me that is aching to learn about anything. I want to understand as much as possible, and be open to every joy and pleasure. And so sometimes I find myself transfixed by athletes who have been playing a sport for as long as I have been alive and therefore know it with such an intimacy and intensity that it becomes second nature. I love to memorize the jargon, or practice identifying talent and skill—including the slight variations that make the difference between winning and losing. I don’t mind asking my dad a lot of questions. There is still a lot to learn.
Every year, I feel like I understand more, and with understanding comes appreciation. And now suddenly I’m nostalgic about tournaments like Wimbledon, and major sporting events have become an integral part of my life; there is comfort in knowing that the same things always happen at the same time every year. When I was still in school, I’d come home, grab an ice lolly from the freezer and turn on the tennis; the green courts and players kitted out in white were always the first indicator of summer. How strange to think I’ll probably feel this way for the rest of my life. ♦