Dave and I went to the Western and Southern Financial Group Master's tennis tournament in Cincinnati yesterday. We had tickets to the semi-finals. The first match was Federer vs. Hewitt. It was an absolutely fabulous match that went to a third set tie breaker and for a minute I actually couldn't believe I was going to be at a match where Roger Federer lost. But, Federer won in the tie breaker. The second match was Blake vs. Davydenko and I couldn't believe how handily James Blake won. Quite impressive.
Here's the real story.
After dinner Dave and I were exploring the grounds: checking out Nadal practicing, noticing the ESPN center where the broadcast was going to take place, and finally looking at the boards with the ATP standings. While there I was approached by a woman who asked me if I wanted to participate in a contest. I asked her, "What kind of contest?" She said I would be one of three participants to be on court between the Blake match and the Bryan brothers match. I would have thirty seconds to hit tennis balls at a target to win prizes. She said everyone would win a prize. Although I haven't picked up my tennis racquet in probably four years, I said yes. So, with two games left in the Blake match, I headed down to the meeting point. I, along with two other guys, was led down into the player's tunnel and waited until the match was over. Then we were led out onto the court while Blake was being interviewed.
The announced explained the contest. Each contestant would be fed balls and have 30 seconds to hit towards the Coke display and knock over as many bottles as possible. The person knocking over the most bottles won.
The prizes were as follows. First place would win a Cincinnati prize pack including 10 tickets to King's Island, four tickets to a Red's game, and four ticket's to a Bengal's game. In total, first price was worth $1500. Second prize was a Richard Petty driving experience at the Kentucky speedway. Third prize was two cases of Coke per month for a year. Even if nobody knocked over any of the targets we would each get to draw for one of the prizes. It was a win-win situation.
The first guy up had never hit a tennis ball before and it showed. He either hit the balls into the net or way up into the stands. Needless to say he didn't hit the target. I was up second. The tennis pro feeding me the balls fed them so fast I didn't have time to line up my shots or see what I was doing. I heard the crowd cheer and I figured I was doing well.
When it was over I had knocked over three Coke bottles.
The final participant's first ball hit the target squarely and I thought for sure he'd be knocking over all of them. To my surprise however, none of the bottles fell and the rest of his shots were just off target.
Unbelievably, I won! I won this huge prize pack to Cincinnati. And I was interviewed on court.
The announcer asked me what I was most excited about and I said the Kings Island tickets. He then asked me about getting to see the Bengals and I said I was a Browns fan. I got booed by the crowd. :) None the less, as I left the court and found my way back to my seat, I received several congratulations.
Not only did I get to see great tennis yesterday, I got extremely lucky and walked away a winner myself.