Rolland Garros, Paris, France
I was lucky. I didn’t know much about tennis. And even less about how to get a ticket to one of the sport’s premiere events. But sitting in my Paris hotel room about 6pm, one year ago today, I figured it was time for a change. It was the 2012 French Open and I was fortunate enough to be able to consider going to watch. I didn’t know who was playing. Didn’t care.
I didn’t know much about tennis. I didn’t know who was playing. Didn’t care.
But I looked up the stadium and saw the system. It was elaborate. It was complex. I had to register and verify my identity — it would be printed on any ticket and checked upon entry. There were about ten different venues inside the massive Rolland Garros complex. I selected Court Philippe Chatrier, the main court and home to the centerpiece performances. The website went to a 3D view, showing me renderings of the court from various seating locations. I picked the next day on the calendar, totally oblivious to the match schedule. I wanted just one seat. One was available. I selected it and moved ahead, only to be denied when the next page loaded. Too slow. I started over.
Refresh. One seat wanted. Nothing. Refresh. One seat wanted. Nothing. Five minutes passed. Point, click. Point, click. I contemplated the notion that the first chance was potentially the only opportunity I may have had. Point, click. Point, click. One seat available – €95. Click!
I raced to buy it. After further verification steps, a PDF was delivered by email. The rendering showed an amazing vantage point: Three rows up from the edge of the upper bowl, just left of center court. A check of the news told me that I’d be seeing the Men’s Semi-Finals. 2 matches in a day. Ferrer versus Nadal. Federer versus Djokovic. The top players in the world. I was lucky.