I talked my way out of volunteering today. I was pretty tired and I needed my space and I was ready to leave.
I’m not sure if you’re aware of this but I saw a friend of mine at a party last summer and she approached me and said that there is a teenis tournament in Cincinnati and if I ever wanted to go to it I could stay at her house. She said she has a big house with an aparment below and if they are not home she would just give me the key to it. So time goes by and the volunteering positions come up on the internet to apply for. So I call this friend of mine to check again that the offer is still good to stay at her place and again she says yes, it’ll be great, she has an apartment below I can stay there. So I apply to be a volunteer and in just sheer luck I get in the press and interview room. So call her to tell her and she doesn’t return my call, I try again several days later and once again no call back. Finnally I get a voicemail from her saying things have changed, they are going on vacation, her sister is coming in, the moon won’t be full, the wind isn’t blowing in the right direction, etc., etc. You get the picture. And that they couldn’t help me and I would have to get a hotel. That is 3 weeks away from the tournament. I was able to book a hotel thru the tournament website at the Crowne Royal but it is 15 miles away. But as luck would have it Bill Chapel came thru and said he booked 2 rooms at the Hampton which is just around the corner from the tournament site. He was not going to use one of the rooms and I could have it. So it worked out. But it was costly. I admit if I was anywhere else but the press and interview room I would of pulled out of volunteering. I didn’t want to pay all that money to be an usher. But I committed to volunteering in the press and interview room and I wanted to keep my word. So leaving a day early I would be paying 1 day less.
So off I take in my pretty candy white Volkswagen EOS, top down, Satellite radio on blasting, and a can of Pepsi and I was all set to go. Had a great time just cruising home.
You know I was in van prison for 13 years where I became invisible. I am very visible in my EOS. I get great remarks about it.
Just some random thoughts about this tournament and volunteering.
This is a tournament where all players have to enter it unless they are injured.
This is a tournament where some people work and get paid from Western and Southern Financial. This tournament is run by volunteers. They are the heart and pulse of this tournament. Many have been volunteering for 30+ years expecting nothing in return.
3 chairpersons in the pressroom, Jim, Bev, Kristen ran the duties of the pressroom and they do an amazing job and are completely devoted. They are very hardworkers.
When DJokovic won several times he always made sure he hit a signed ball into the bleachers.
As far a volunteering they give you 2 shirts, a hat, and all the tennis you can watch when you’re not working your shift. They have 3 shifts – 8:30-1:30; 1:00-6:00; 5:30 to close. You can mix them or keep them the same. I worked the middle shift 1-6pm. I got to meet up with a few tennis friends. In the volunteer tent where you check in each day they had lemonade, ice tea, bananas, nectarines, grapes, cookies, chips, pretzels free of charge and a refrigerator where you could keep your lunch if you brought one. They also offered $8 of food vouchers for $5.
Also in the pressroom they had the same goodies and also a refrigerator there with Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and once in a while Corona would send up a tub of beer.
When I was in the pressroom as well as the interview room and listened to the younger people talk about older people. One young kid related a story where he works as a waiter and a group of old women came in and were flirting with him. One of the ladies told him if she passes out he could give her mouth to mouth and he said he was thinking you’ve got to be kidding. One person asked him old old was she and he said around “60”. (Sixty?, I’m 61 and that means he is repulsed by me) Oh brother. If I go down nobody here is giving me mouth to mouth. I’m just going to the white light whether I want to or not. Also when I was in the interview room and a reporter was talking to the stenographer they were joking around and she asked him just how old he thought she was and he said around 60 (no way…she was much younger and he was teasing her) she said “60” you’ve got to be kidding. So the message was you’re pretty old if you’re 60.
There were a couple of things I didn’t like about the tournament site. One had to be designed by a cheap man. There was only 1 elevator where I was working. It was used by the players, service people, workers, and ticket holders. Sometimes that elevator took forever. One night it broke and we had to walk up all those stairs to the 4th floor.
They need to add a service elevator, maybe an elevator from the 4th floor pressroom to the 3rd floor interview room. It would also be nice to have an escalator instead of those stairs.
The parking was an issue if you came after 11am. You had to park very far away and I suggested that they provide a cart to take you to the volunteer tent and to bring you back after you leave. Once in a while I asked for a ride to and from and they accomodated me except for the last night when they all went home.
I think on court you can tell alot about the player by how they treat the ball boy/girl who handles their towel. Do they hand it to him/her, throw it at the ball boy/girl, throw it down on the ground for the ball boy/girl to bend down and pick up or do they gently ask for the towel and hand it back to them. Also in the interview room how they present themselves.
Those that speak several languages not only gave interviews in English but also in their other languages.
You can tell alot about the reporters when the internet went out and how they would approach the desk and deal with it or not deal with it.
There was a woman reporter there from the NY Times who caught everyones eye. She had fiery red hair with a freckled face and always wore crazy slim fitting flowered pants. One day I asked her “What’s up with the crazy pants”? She said back in the day when she wore a skirt or dress the length was an issue and what kind of message she was sending so she decided to wear pants but they had to be colorful and that they are. She says everyone notices her right away even the players.
Some of the paid security workers take their job very seriously. I heard that Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic at different times took a shower and forgot their badge and went to go get it and the Marshall not knowing who they were would not let them back in. Each saying are you serious? Luckily someone else in authority spotted this and told the Marshall to let him in. Marshall was just doing his job.
I became friends with one of the security women who worked the elevator, stood guard in front of the players lounge and interview room. She was just one of the kindest souls I’ve ever met. We did a lot of talking on Saturday in front of the interview room as players left. She was told to leave about 11pm and she said I can’t go there is 2 more interviews, but her boss said she had to go. Before she left she gave me her card and said if you do this next year you can stay with me. Here’s a woman who doesn’t know me from anyone and offers her home to me while my friend who started this whole journey for me left me high and dry. Go figure.
I would volunteer again if I didn’t have to pay so much for lodging. I foundthe press/interview room very interesting and to volunteer at this tournament was on my bucket list and I’m glad I did it.
Hope you enjoyed this blog and thanks for reading it and becoming part of this journey.