The French Open..........the last place in Paris you would think to look for me!

Game personal performance at the French Open Even though I was a member of the winning team in the Dumbalk ladies tennis grand final years ago, I've never really been one for watching tennis on telly and of course have never been to a "grand slam" event, so when my friends Michael and Craig suggested we try to get tickets for the French open I thought, "Why not?"

The three of us headed off to Roland Garos stadium on a beautiful, warm and sunny day, our fresh ham and soft cheese baguettes packed and the sun screen on. There were hundreds of people, some very flashily dressed, others hardly dressed at all, some carrying signs looking to buy tickets, others walking along talking and laughing. We walked amongst the throng of bodies towards the stadium (luckily Craig is tall, so there was no chance of me getting lost as I could see him up ahead without a problem). Once inside, I was surprised at how much it reminded me of being at the Royal Melbourne Show (but without the "Mad Mouse" and the fluro wigs..........oh and of course without the livestock!).

We found our designated seats in the stand (which were great by the way) and sat down. With the sun streaming down on us we settled in and watched the first game between a Frenchman and another guy (I told you I don't know much about tennis). After the match, which the French guy lost (I think mostly because he kept complaining about the 'line calls') we headed out of the court area to sit on the grass and have our lunch..............mmmmmmm!

When we went back into the stadium to watch the next game, a whole gang of guys were sitting in our seats, so Craig asked them to move, (which the first three guys did to the space directly behind us, where they had to stand) but one stubborn (but very handsome) fellow stayed 'propped' on the edge of the seat next to me (which was really half of my seat). This meant that I had to alternate between sitting on either my right or left buttock, because both couldn't fit on the seat at once (as his bottom was encroaching on my space).

I tried wriggling around, I tried "huffing" and "puffing", I tried giving him 'dirty looks', all of which he seemed oblivious to. I sat there hoping her would bend over to pick something up and I could elbow him off the edge of the seat, but he must have been 'onto' me, as he remained super glued to the seat, except if I happened to rotate my buttocks and then he would spread further onto the minute space I had just vacated. Now at the same time, the other guys behind us were loudly talking and laughing (in a language I didn't understand) to the 'seat pincher' and he was talking and laughing too, which was making me even edgier because I'm thinking, he's telling his mates how he's trying to spread his bum so much that he'll force me completely off the seat and they all think it's marvellously funny and here I am, one buttock at a time trying to maintain my balance without looking like an idiot.

Of course the loud talking and laughing is really starting to annoy other people sitting in our vicinity and they start to turn around and glare at the 'seat pincher' and his mates, who continue their conversation in joyous ignorance of the growing lever of tension building up around rows 56 & 57.

Meanwhile, on the court, one of the players is again disputing a line call and the guys behind us start to yell out to him to "stop being a sook" or words to that effect (I imagine). Now the people in front of us are getting really shirty, they progress from the occasional 'dirty look' to outright hostility and start to comment loudly on the 'rudeness of SOME people'. 'Seat pincher', in the meantime is trying to get the attention of his female companion, about six rows away and keeps yelling out to her. She keeps indicating to him to be quiet by frowning and putting her finger to her lips, which just makes him yell to her louder. Eventually, the girlfriend throws up a packet of chips to 'seat pincher' and they land on the ground in the aisle, out of his reach, one row down.

I feel the tension in the air...................what does he want more, the chips or the half of my seat he has been occupying for the best part of an hour? I start to feel excited.........this could be my opportunity, I tell myself to not get TOO excited, cause he'll notice. I try to look relaxed and pretend I haven't noticed the whole "chip packet" incident. I can feel him getting agitated next to me, I feel his buttocks start to clench, I can see him out of the corner of my eye, trying to calculate the quickest and most effective way of retrieving the packet of chips without giving up his space on my seat, when all of a sudden, he just goes for it. He leans forward, lifts his bottom off the seat, reaches toward the row in front and grabs the packet of chips.

I, on the other hand, having wasted not one second, am already well entrenched in the recently vacated space that had once been MY seat and was now mine once more. As 'seat pincher' chips in hand, attempts to park his bottom back on the seat, he realizes the space he just vacated is no longer there, but is wholly and soley occupied by me!

"Check Mate!" I think to myself smugly! He turns and looks me directly in the eye.....................and smiles a huge, handsome smile, respectfully acknowledging the skill of my manoeuvre and his ultimate defeat. I smile back. He perches himself on the one inch of space that's left at the edge of the seat, where he lasts for about five minutes, before getting up and joining his mates behind us, standing up along the railing.

The crowd cheers, the game is over..........Game, set and match Ms. Carlile says the man on the microphone. In my head I bow to my adoring fans.

Who won the tennis you may ask? I've gotta tell you, I don't have a clue, however the game of strategy played out in row 57..............the winner of that my friends..........WAS ME!

1 comment:

Phil C said...

Game set and match !