Here we are, July 4th – no fireworks and eating dinner with the redcoats (we’re staying with the Wilson family). It’s a bit weird but alright. We really don’t have much to complain about, considering that dreams have come true in the last few days, particulary for Clayton. Since he was a little boy Clayton has dreamed of going to the Wimbledon Grand Slam Tournament and walk the grounds where the great tennis players of today and yester-year have played.
With our friends Rory (who has many years of experience of going to Wimbledon) and Anna along to show us the ropes, we woke up early on Monday, June 30th, the day after our long flight from Cape Town to London to queue up. By 7:30am there were over 2,000 people in line before us waiting to purchase ground passes. As we waited in line we enjoyed great conversation, the morning sunshine, the perfect cup of English tea and discussed our game plan for the day. The grounds pass offered 18 different courts of action (excluding Court 1 and Center Court), including court 2 where we could manouver our way to a small section where we could watch Venus Williams play. We were able to get front row of the standing section on Court 2 and the view was incredible. You could see most of the grounds while still having a clear view of the Venus William’s match. After watching Venus win her match in straight sets we moved on to other action.
We then went to a double’s match where we watched Travis Parrott from Portland, OR. Clayton played Travis in the Junior Tennis Circuit when he was younger. We then went up to “Henman” hill to watch the end of the Roger Federer match on the big screen. While enjoying some strawberries and cream Rory shared a strategy of how we could get seats on center court without having a reserved seat ticket. With God’s favor upon us we asked a guard to let us sit in some empty seats on Center Court and sure enough, we went in. We watched an exciting upset unfold before our eyes as the #4 seed on the women’s side lost to the #14 ranked player. It was so amazing to be there knowing that great players like Borg, Sampras, Lendl, Hingus, Evert, Graph etc. etc. have all played here. It was so special to be there; you could feel the history.
The much anticipated Center Court match with Brit, Andy Murray would be next and alas, we were asked to give up our seats. We met back up with Rory, Anna and a friend of Rory’s who helped get us on to Court 1. From our 5th row seats we watched Marat Safin win his match and continue his march to the Semi Finals where he eventaully lost to Roger Federer. All in all our day at Wimbledon was amazing. Great weather! Great friends! Great tennis!
Other highlights thus far in London include: A dinner with the Cordles (Mrs. Orchard’s father and his wife), more time with Mrs. Orchard and the children (visiting family in London-small world again), the Lion King from 5 rows back, a day with Daisy (the Wilson’s daughter) and watching Todd Bently on God TV with James Wilson! What a blessing its all been.
Back to the Lakeland Revival on God TV… you gotta catch this stuff… its wild!