Friday, August 26, 2011

The Winston Salem Open, Baghdatis Edition

I have strong preferences.  Either I like something or I don't and more often than not, there is no sound basis nor logical rationale behind my choices.  Such is the case with my favorite tennis player, Marcos Baghdatis.  I have no idea why I like him.  I just know that I like him.  Maybe it's the fun spirit he shows on court.  Maybe it's because he reminds me of a good friend of mine (although the friend is Italian and Marcos is a Cypriot--that is fun to type!  Cypriot. Cypriot. Cypriot.)  Maybe it's just because I finally learned how to spell his last name.

For whatever reason, he has captivated me since his final run at the Aussie Open in 2006.  When I finally got around to checking out the Winston Salem Open's website and see who was actually playing (which I blindly volunteered to work at the WSOpen a month prior, when my friend Robin said "international media"), I saw that he was on the roster.  It was like Christmas in August!  I couldn't have been more excited had Johnny Depp showed up on my doorstep with a Starbuck's iced caramel macchiato in hand and the promise to whisk me off for unlimited shopping at Sephora.  In New York.  The really big one.  With lots of lipsticks. I stood a good chance of watching my favorite player in action!

Usually the forces of the universe conspire against me to and thwart any aspirations that my plans will come to fruition, so I was merely hoping to catch a glimpse of him from my nosebleed seats.  However, I must be living a better life, so forces smiled upon me Tuesday and had Baghdatis practicing on court 1.  THE COURT WITH THE BEST VISIBILITY AND VINICITY TO THE MASSES!!!  Yeah, THATcourt #1.  Not only that, but he actually walked in the gate behind me.   BEHIND ME!!!!

Doing what any stalker fan (I wonder how you say stalker in Greek?) would do, I sat there beside the practice court.  For an entire hour and a half.  And watched.  I felt like a 12 year old girl seeing Justin Beber, only less squeal-ly.  My friend Robin sent me a text "Where r u?".  I shot back, "Duh, stalking Bags".  For an entire hour and a half, there was a mere chain link fence between me and my favorite player.  I was semi-well behaved and only mildly stalkerish.  I took pics.  I uploaded them to Facebook.  I tweeted.  But I didn't move.  For an entire hour and a half.  For a caffeine addict with a possible touch of ADD (or SUBTRACT or something), enthralling me for an hour and a half is a rare feat, indeed.

When his hour and a half of practice was over, a flock of 6 year olds swarmed him for autographs.  And me.  A woman old enough to be his big sister.  Any smooth and chatty lines I had rehearsed in my mind flew straight out my head and I turned into a 12 year old, wearing a scrunchie.  I handed my camera to some complete random lady, as my friend Robin had long since abandoned me for loftier goals.  I stood beside him for a pic, but not too close, as I didn't want to get thrown off the grounds for harassing the talent.  I thanked him, wished him good luck for the rest of the Winston Salem Open and got my camera back from the random lady.  When I checked my pic, it wasn't there.  The random hadn't gotten it at all!  Undaunted in my 12 year old scrunchie-dom, I chased him down, asked for one more picture (I may have cried and begged, but semantics, whatever).  This time the random actually got the picture.  I look like a complete and utter doofus (wonder how you say doofus in Greek?).  I am standing so far away from him, you could park a Hummer between us.  I am leaning into the frame in such a way as to lead one to think I merely popped into the scene at the moment the shutter released, just for comedic effect.  Something akin to the fools that bounce around behind ESPN commentators at basketball games.  All that is lacking is me holding up my index finger for the #1 effect.  I am a goober.  A big old doofus-y goober.

Marcos was quiet, but polite.  Then again, my idiot self had emerged and shut down my thought process so I didn't utter a word or try to initiate small talk.  Perhaps I was operating under the wild animal premise--I didn't want to speak and spook him and send him darting back to the cave that is the players locker room. I *think* I *perhaps* said "thank you" for the second picture (Robin is soooo not getting a Christmas card this year.  On that note, maybe the doofus pic will BE my Christmas card this year!).

It was the epitome of fan/stalkerdom.  An hour and a half of unadulturated staring, culimnating in the holy grail of fandom, a pic with him.  I hate that my brain went into safe operating mode, abandoning conversation and opting to focus solely on the important things like breathing.  All I'm asking for is a "let" and allow me a do-over.  Please come back to the Winston Salem Open next year!  Pretty please?

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