So with the French Open winding up this week (and Friday’s men’s semis were quite compelling; check out my blog here), I thought it was a good time to tell my Roland Garros story. Because I think the statute of limitations on my “crime” have expired.
It was March, 2007, and my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Paris (quick tip: it’s cold in France in March. But it was the only time we could go. So we froze most of the trip. But still had fun. Don’t go in March).
As a huge tennis fan, I knew that one of the things I wanted to do in Paris was go to Roland Garros, famous site of the French Open. I figured that I probably wouldn’t be allowed onto the grounds, but I at least wanted to look around, see the outside, take pictures, etc.
So the day comes when we go to Roland Garros. We take the subway or the metro or whatever the hell they call it over there, and when we get to the famous grounds, there is no one around.
Literally, no one was there. We walked right in through the gates, and I’m thinking “this is awesome.”
Then we started walking toward the No. 2 show court, Court Suzanne Lenglen. And as I got closer and closer, I saw the gates were open. So of course I went into the stadium.
“You know,” my wife said. “There’s nobody here. You could probably go onto the court.”
You didn’t have to tell me twice. With Julie as lookout, I hopped the 3-foot fence separating the stands from the court.
And suddenly, I was running around pantomiming forehands and backhands on one of the most famous courts in the world. I felt like a 7-year-old who’d snuck down to good seats at a baseball game, and kept looking around for someone to throw out these two crazy Americans who were on the court.
But no one came. Then we went over the No.1 court at Roland Garros, Court Phillippe Chartrier. Surely, even though it was 2 months before the French Open, someone would be there.
Nope. So I snuck down again, and ran around pretending I was Rafael Nadal (above) and it was one of the best five minute stretches of my life.
Then, with only a maintenance guy working high atop the stadium, we walked off a court where Grand Slam champions are crowned.
Before we left, I reached down and scooped up some clay from the court. I know it’s not the same clay they use during the tournament, but still, it was Roland Garros clay.
That clay is now in a jar on my dresser. It’s one of my favorite possessions.
And every time I watch the French Open, I think “I was there.”
One of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
**I’d love to be in some of these movie pitch meetings where projects get greenlighted.
Because I really want to hear who thought this was a good idea.
They’re making a movie about the game Candy Land. Because, you know, there is so much plot and action in the game.
Not only that, they’re making this movie dark. Like, “Lord of the Rings” dark.
Really? This is what we need, a movie about a silly board game?
Somehow I think I’ll be skipping this one.