Monday, May 1, 2017

My experience at Match for Africa 4 - Seattle

One of the  things Seattle is known for, along with its natural beauty, lots of rain (which helps make it the Emerald City), Microsoft, Starbucks, the Space Needle, among many others, is it's amazing sports fans.  Fans at Century Link field have actually produced seismic activity during Seahawks games and is known to be the loudest stadium in the National Football League.  It, however, is not known to be a tennis town generally, so when I heard (much to my shock and joy) that Roger Federer was coming to Seattle (90 miles south of my home town) I was hoping Seattle fans wouldn't disappoint.  And they most certainly did not!

The atmosphere was absolutely electric in Key Arena, which seats 17,000, first for the incredibly fun doubles match featuring Roger Federer and Seattle's own Bill Gates against John Isner and guitarist from Seattle based band Pearl Jam Mike McCready, and then for the singles match between Roger and John.  There were some exciting points played in the doubles match, with Roger and John obviously toning their games way down for the amateurs.  Here's an example of one that was taken by my husband:

I felt so blessed to be able to take part in such a special event and from the close-up range of the 2nd row.  I have been to many live pro matches, quite a few from very close up, but this was a completely different experience from any match that I have been to.  In a competitive match on tour the players tend to be quite serious, trying to stay focused and in the zone, just wanting to get the win.  For an exhibition match, however, they are quite relaxed, enjoying themselves and wanting the crowd to have a fun experience.  Getting to see Roger smiling and happy on court, goofing around with the crowd and just having a great time was a wonderful experience.  The atmosphere felt joyful!

John Isner also did a great job of making the matches fun.  He used his sense of humor often in a teasing way toward Roger and the others.  I really enjoyed seeing this side of him.

Of course, the purpose of the evening was raising money for the Roger Federer Foundation, helping young children in Africa, and that was certainly accomplished, raising over $2 million.  It felt good spending the money for the close-up seats knowing it was going for such a worthwhile cause.  And Roger said Seattle reminds him of home in Switzerland with the lakes and mountains and that he would definitely be back, so that was happy news to this major Fed fan's ears! 

Me watching Roger sitting right beneath the G in the GOAT shirts (thanks @Maria_youRFan)

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