The Greatest Show on Court: US Open Tennis Championships

Posted in Professional Sports on September 3rd, 2011 by Ian Paregol

While I am not a New Yorker and therefore do not have the usual parochial slant which favors all things that originate in the Big Apple, I can confidently state that the US Open Tennis Championship is without question the most well-run sporting event on the planet.  In attending courtside action on Day 3 and Day 4, I viewed the dominating power demonstrated by an array of the world’s best players as well as inspired play by up and coming professionals during first two rounds of the tournament.  Among the dozens of exceptional matches I watched in part or en toto, I was able to see:

  • A gritty, 19 year-old American, Christina McHale (daughter of Celts legend, Kevin) outhustle French jumping-bean, Marion Bartoli (ranked #9 in the world);
  • Prohibitive underdog,  #455 Madison Keys jump all over 26th ranked Lucie Safarova in a first set filled with jaw dropping passing shots only to succumb to experience 6-3  5-7 4-6;
  • An outstanding 1st Round match-up between power-serving American, John Isner, and international fan-favorite Marcos Baghdatis of Cypress battle through four sets, two of which resulted in tiebreakers; and
  • Super-giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic crush world-ranked #13 & single-handed back-hand expert, Richard Gasquet “like bug.”

I was also treated to the dominant play of Sharapova, Roddick, Federer and Williams, however the most entertaining match of the Open thus far has been Read more »

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US Open Recap from The Bench

Posted in Chazerai, Professional Sports on June 22nd, 2011 by Ian Paregol

After seven straight days of chasing down golfers for autographs with my son, Evan; hiking the course to follow different pairings; and posting scores on the an array of leaderboards as a volunteer at the US Open, I felt compelled to write a bit about the US Open experience at Congressional and offer my first-hand observations.

The hot topic at the Open was not Rory, it was transportation.  Transportation to and from Congressional was a nightmare.  The average Joe who parked in the cross-county fairgrounds and weathered 45 minute bus rides to and from the course only to be greeted with an additional 20 minute hump to the clubhouse from the bus drop-off location expressed nothing but contempt for the grounds access system and the second class citizen feel of the general admission.   Even with the preferred parking, Read more »

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US Open Pairings for Thursday and Friday’s Rounds

Posted in Chazerai, Professional Sports on June 12th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

The Pairings for the first two rounds of play at the US Open at Congressional in Bethesda, Maryland have been posted and there are quite a few alluring threesomes.  Undoubtedly, purposeful player selections have been made by the USGA for the Open which will be without its top spectator draw, Tiger Woods – out with an Achilles injury.  Wasn’t it Achilles who was invulnerable to any weakness except an injury to his heel which was held by his mother, Thetis, as she dipped him into the river Styx to make him immortal?  Clearly, there are other parallels and some alternative body part references which unite this Greek myth to the post-modern allegory of Tiger Woods, but I digress…

As is the custom with the Open, “super pairings” are sprinkled about the 156-man playing field to create buzz, keep spectator traffic under control, ease operational needs for televised coverage, and of course, to prove to golf fans just how very clever the USGA pairing committee really is.  Although lacking an American presence, the marquee grouping of Read more »

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