The Outer Courts was denied access to the media room, again, so we're the rare breed of written/print media without a place to write and/or print. Like last year, we are confined to the cafeteria when working, hoping to catch a couple waves of Wi-Fi from the Media Center across the hall.
Is it convenient? Of course not. It's not easy to write in the noisy cafeteria with chunks of lettuce and straw wrappers everywhere. Not to mention, we have to sit back and watch during the 'Media Happy Hour' everyday when they all storm the cafeteria, our office, to drink and be merry at 6:00. We can't partake in the free adult beverages because we're not cool enough, I suppose. But we wouldn't have it any other way, because the cafeteria has become our home, the official Outer Courts US Open office. We get first dibs on the fountain drinks and we will sabotage the ketchup dispenser if anyone looks down on our lowly 'T' badges. ('M' badges have all the fun.)
So, yeah, electricity, internet, seating, stats, and vodka crans aren't always available, but the 'T' badge comes with one perk the press will never receive: We get to sit courtside with the photographers in the pit during matches, right up on the action. BOOM. Take that, written/print media losers. Put that in your free cocktail and write about it.
Today, I took advantage of our premium seating on Arthur Ashe during the Lleyton Hewitt/Thomas Berdych and Maria Sharapova/Alexandrea Dulgheru matches, and it was awesome. I caught a ball, worked on my tan, and almost got Sharapova to look at me.
Of course, I got some pretty aggravated looks from the actual photographers -- you know, the ones that carry cameras and stuff -- but I chummed it up with some of them and always offered up my seat if I felt I was in the way.
At one point the pit was packed with photogs and I was right in the middle of them in the front row with my arm fully extended, iPhone 5 in hand, taking out-of-focus shots to send to my friends on SnapChat. I wish I had a photo of me amongst all of the professionals and their ginormous lenses to see just how out of place I really looked. I felt ridiculous.
After baking in the sun for a few hours and pretending to be a line judge, I moved to the area behind the players where the ground is at eye level. I must say, it felt a little creepy when the women were playing but I did not complain when Bae, I mean Sharapova, was on my end.
As you can see, it is a very unique view of the action that not many people are able to experience. It's also dangerous if you're not on your toes when a low screamer comes bouncing your way. Heads up at all times or you may lose an eye. (If I were to lose an eye, I would have to rely on Wanda, the head of the salad bar, to treat the injury. Only 'M' badges can receive treatment from the medics on site. 'T' people, we have to fend for ourselves.)
You know, at the end of the day, life's not so bad as a writer without a desk, a photographer without a camera. I think we wear the badge well.
But, man, those drinks look really good right about now.
|M's waiting to get their free drink on.|
|The guy next to me got two, just to rub it in.|