One thing I actually enjoy about commuting, at least before Citizen’s Bank Park became the Mets’ Waterloo this week, is seeing guys and gals in Mets jerseys pooling in Grand Central before embarking on a 7-train trip to Shea.
(For the record, I also sort of like seeing mooks in Jeter jerseys on the 4-5 train platform heading up to the Bronx.)
There’s a pleasant vicariousness to it–yes, I’m heading home to watch snippets of the game with the Missus and Little G, but just for a second, I’ll pretend I’m going to Shea with you, you pay for the hot dogs and I’ll spring for first round.
But as the U.S. Open takes root this week, I don’t feel the same bonhomie for our tennis brethren. I shared the train with a hip-high fan of the racket sports, his friend, and both their mothers last night. Throughout the ride, he played with a souvenir tennis ball the size of a basketball. It had an autograph scribbled on it, though I couldn’t make it who it was.
In the frog-like voice between boyhood and teenhood, the kid talked about how his coach taught him to toss his serve balls out in front a little bit, not straight up, so he’s serving a lot faster now.
He dissed and dissected others’ games — Justin can’t volley, Ali can’t go from side to side.
All the while, he bounced, cajoled and cradled his giant souvenir tennis ball.
I don’t really have a good reason why kids going to baseball games give me a warm feeling, while kids going to tennis matches make me want to throttle them. I know full well it wouldn’t have been sporting, but I was mighty tempted to grab his giant souvenir ball, step over to the door, wait for us to arrive at a stop, then punt the thing into the dark night of Valhalla.
It would’ve been way, wrong, I know. But it would’ve been fun.