Wednesday, 27 June 2007


I haven't been a tennis fan for years. It would be easy to say it's got something to do with the fact that the petulant, tantrum-throwing behaviour that takes place in the game would get a person's teeth rammed down their throats in many other sports. Yet many of the most famous on-court whiners and abusive little punks haven't played for years. Despite much of their loathsome antics, some of those players of years gone by seemed to have personalities that resonated more than the bland crop of today. In fact, I don't truly know if there are any McEnroes or Connors of today in terms of vitriol spewing tirades against judges, opposing players and fans. It's been that long since I've paid any attention.

While I remember some of those early '80's Wimbledon classics between the likes of Borg and McEnroe, when Wimbledon rolls around now, it evokes images of the village of Wimbledon itself, not the classic tennis tournament played every June.

About ten years ago I was at the tail end of a backpacker's trek around the world that had spiraled out of control, lasting beyond the usual 6 months or so and turning into a life-altering 5 years. I landed in London after some hazy, barely remembered antics in Eastern Europe and set about securing a near certainty when it comes to a job for the modern-day drifter/filth that aimlessly wanders the globe: a pub job in London.

The village of Wimbledon is lovely and fittingly quaint for the yanks who show up every June. The train station is at the bottom of of a hill that exits onto the main street. By the time you've hiked to the top of the hill you've almost seen it all.

I took a bus to the address of the job I had found in one of the traveler's weeklies. The Jenny Lind was a seedy looking place in the middle of a housing estate, miles away and a far cry from the picturesque village I had left behind.

I stayed there for a few weeks and then high-tailed it to another job back in London, having appropriately enraged the scum that frequented the joint to the point that I would have been beaten before long.

Before I left I wandered the 15 minutes or so to the actual Wimbledon tennis grounds, a fairly unremarkable looking location that was half-way between the village of Wimbledon and the white-trash outpost where I was stationed. Once again I was reminded of how the very posh stands right next to the very poor and downtrodden in much of London.

As for this year's tournament, the headlines in the sports pages hold as much interest for me as the lives of those who frequented The Jenny Lind.

1 comment:

mrsnesbitt said...

Many years ago I had a pal who was driving the courtesy coach at Wimbledon. I went to London for the weekend and he picked me up from the station in hte coach. people were waving & taking my picture, it was hilarious, they thought I was a famous player! LOL!