Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Filed under : Sports,Tennis
On August 20, 2006
At 11:05 pm
Comments : 18

It’s just a week away! Yes, I can hardly hold in my excitement. Has it reached up off the page and smacked you yet? No? Oh, it will. Yes, it’s my first annual, and perhaps only, Guide to Attending the US Open! I’ve been doing this for ages and frankly, so should you. Don’t like tennis? Go for the $20 hot dogs!

I decided to post this this week, though, so those not living in NY could have time to book their flights and for the rest of you locals to learn our first tip.

Tip #1
Go to the qualifying rounds! (I’m sorry, this post will just have a lot of exclamation points. I’ll try decaf tomorrow). If you’re good enough but not quite good enough, you can compete for 16 of the slots in the draw the week before the actual Open, ensuring you will be way too tired to actually compete. That is, if they don’t stick you on the main court on national TV against Federer the first day in which case you could have just come from a day-spa and it wouldn’t matter. But the best part of it is, it’s free. And there are plenty of names you’ve heard of even if you just follow tennis a little bit. But the best people to watch are the ones you’ve never heard of, because they want it more. And you can sit in the sparsely populated bleachers with their mom and their coach and make their day by telling them that their guy is awesome. The quallies go Tuesday through Friday of this week. Go! Go now!

Tip #2
Go sometime in the middle of the tournament. Say, from the first Tuesday through the second Tuesday. You’ll have a better choice of matches plus you can see your favorite player before he gets eliminated. I’m talking to you, Andy Roddick fans.

Tip #3
Once the actual tournament begins (8/28), know what to pack. First off, don’t bring a backpack. For some unfathomable reason, you can bring any bag except that. Your bag can be shaped like a bomb but so long as it can’t be carried on your back, you’re OK. Here’s what you should bring:

  • Water, as cold as possible. It’ll be $6 a bottle inside so get a head start with the first one. Spill a little out and freeze it the night before. Refill at the fountain and voila, cold water all day.
  • Food. Yes, you’ll buy some, but for the love of crikey, bring a snack or something and save another $6. I usually tote a sandwich of some kind in a coldpak.
  • Sunscreen. They used to keep some in the bathrooms. These days, it’ll run you another $20 and there are very few sheltered seats. While I’m on that topic, wear a hat if you don’t enjoy sunstroke.
  • Umbrella if there is rain in the forecast. The covered areas get mighty crowded and I personally don’t like touching you people. Instead, stay in your seat under your umbrella.

Tip #4
Don’t buy a draw sheet. Just print out the draws and court assignments that morning (or late the night before) from You need to work out your strategy beforehand anyway and then you can spend the $3 on a US Open keychain.

Tip #5
I cannot state this enough. During the day session DO NOT GO TO ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM. This is not well known but it’s called that because Artur Ashe up in heaven and you in the uppermost tier will have approximately the same view. Maybe if it’s Agassi’s last year (which it is) and he’s playing there (which he will be) you can make a small exception. But then get the hell out of there. There is no life in that place. Plus, the fact that the luxury boxes are actually below you and you can see the rich people sipping their drinks and chatting while you can pick out what airline name is painted on each jet that goes by is enough to make you communist.

Tip #6
Unless you find a match elsewhere you really want to see, start your day in Louis Armstrong stadium. If it’s all the same to you, you can sit nearly anywhere you want in comfortable seats and odds are you’ll see a good match. If it’s a blowout, or it seems like no one’s into it at all, try the Grandstand which is just next door and has the best atmosphere of any court.

Tip #7
Spend some time on the outer courts. If the seats weren’t so uncomfortable, you could really spend the whole day there, especially the first week. You couldn’t really be any closer to world-class tennis players unless you were the ball-kid. Check the scoreboards and look for a close match. If that doesn’t make your decision, pick a match with two guys from differing South American countries. Sit with a group of South Americans. By the end of the match, if you’re still alive, you’ll feel like you’re from Santiago. Or like you could kill anyone from Santiago. Other countries with rabid fans: Australia, Spain, and Thailand (bring thundersticks).

Other little known items:

1. If you are tired of waiting to get back into Armstrong between points (I once waited seven deuces in a Patty Schnyder/Meghann Shaughnessy match), walk behind the stadium, climb up the fire-escape type stairs, and enter at the top. Walk down to a seat.

2. The bathrooms behind the food court are not just for employees. There is never a wait. Enter near Court 12.

3. Should you enjoy looking down the tops of players’ girlfriends, try the bleacher seats at an outer court, such as 4, 7, or 11. Don’t ask me how I know this.

4. So hot you could die? The US Open Collection Store near Court 11 is exceedingly well air-conditioned.

Special items for tourists:

1. There are no saved seats on the subway. I was there first, lady, I don’t care if your handbag is there to save it for your husband who is too tentative entering the actual car.

2. Don’t dress as though you yourself might be playing tennis that day.

3. It’s never OK to shout, “Oh my God, it’s Donald Trump!” during points.

Well, that’s it. And I swear, this was not all just a ploy to get you to check out the extra tickets from my family’s plan that I’m selling on Craigslist. I will be gone several days next week for the actual extravaganza, but I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll just post bleary-eyed tennis-themed posts in the middle of the night or have a guest blogger. Feel free to weigh in.

Andy Williams – It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


iPod song of the week – Katrina

Filed under : iPod Song of the Week
At 6:00 pm
Comments :Comments Off on iPod song of the week – Katrina

Here are our songs for week o’August 20th. Yes, two!

It’s about a year since the whole Hurricane Katrina tragedy/debacle ruined countless lives, political careers, and an entire national treasure of a city. When I think of New Orleans, I think of music. And beignets. But since I don’t have a beignet of the week page, let’s just work with the music.

I couldn’t decide between these two songs as to which made me think of New Orleans more so I’m posting both, as well as links to their videos which always appear in my head when I hear the songs.

The first song is one of the most infectious ever. It’s the horn sample (who knows, maybe it’s actually fresh to this song, I’m not a musicologist) that runs throughout which gets under your skin and makes you feel like you have a fever. In addition, I couldn’t find out who does the sort of response to many of Mystikal’s lines, but I’d enjoy having someone next to me, backing up every single thing I said in the same fashion. Anyway, check out the video on YouTube as well, should you want to see a NO jazz funeral with the most attractive mourners ever (it’s in the second half).

Mystikal – Bouncin’ Back (Bumpin’ Me Against The Wall)

The second song could be my favorite hip-hop song of all time. I don’t know if it’s the fact that every line ends with “ha” or the catchy sing-song chorus, but this song stays in my head a good long time usually. And should you be interested in a slice of Juve’s New Orleans, I strongly suggest you check out the video. Shockingly, this was seven years before the actual hurricane hit. You can sort of see where that guy who wouldn’t go into the projects when it’s dark, ha, was coming from.

Juvenile – Ha