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As it happens, I was there 36 years ago, witnessing what now turns out to be a piece of history. Right after high school my parents sent me to Europe, in the company of a chaperon, my one and only sister. London was our first stop. On opening day we tubed to Wimbledon and purchased tickets which gave us entree to the entire grounds as well as the standing-room area to the side of the Centre Court net. I was happy to be there, particularly since I was familiar with Pasarell, a Hollywood-handsome star who played for UCLA. When he opened the match by booming four straight serves past Santana, I assumed it was going to be his day. It was. He won in four sets. My sister was thrilled.
Later we walked the grounds and saw other matches. Marty Riessen won his opener on Court 1. It might have been against the great Indian player Ramanathan Krishnan. What I remember about him is that he played with no visible emotion whatsoever. Indian women in saris in the sparsely filled grandstand watched with the same aloof demeanor. It was a lot more captivating than the tennis itself.
On one of the side courts Rafael Osuna was playing his first-round match. Years later this great Mexican would be killed in an airliner crash. On an even more distant side-court we watched through a fence along the walkway a young Australian named John Newcombe thrashing an unworthy French opponent (I’m pretty sure) in a match witnessed by maybe a dozen onlookers. From obscurity Newcombe would end up at Centre Court that year to win the men’s singles championship, the first of three for him at Wimbledon. But this one would be the most memorable, given it came the last time the tournament was open only to amateurs and before strawberries and cream became its selling point.
Newcombe would also go on, many years later, to spend a late night on the town with George W. Bush, thanks to which Al Gore almost became president. But almost doesn’t count in politics, nor in tennis. Unless someone in supreme authority decides that’s unfair too.
******p> Hard Times (posted 6/23/03 1:10 a.m.) br> If there’s one thing we’ve learned since George W. Bush won the presidency it’s that liberals hate to lose. Just how much we don’t even quite know, particularly since their biggest loss has come in the wake of what they were certain was their biggest victory when McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform became law. They wanted to eliminate the evil influence of soft money in politics, but in the process they also eliminated the role of hard money in their politics. Now they’re beside themselves that President Bush is well on his way to raising some $200 million in hard money donations from individuals voters for his re-election campaign.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online