That Tennis Tournament in Ariake

Every fall since my first year of college
I’ve been here in Ariake, helping out with the tennis tournament.
And every year without fail…it rains.
The minute the rain lets up
we rush out to the courts with wipers and towels.
Even though it sometimes just rains again
we do this over and over throughout the tournament.
Some of the other things we do:
We check if there are enough drinks, bananas, and towels
for the players as well as the chair umpire.
We look for missing cellphones.
We work with the referees in announcing
changes in the order of play.
We determine when to turn the night lights on.
We hand out coffee and snacks to
the off duty umpires and ball kids who drop by.
We oversee every court keep updated on the status of the game.
We run with the doctor to the court
in case of a medical emergency.
We set up the court for singles and doubles matches.
We fill in for the campaign girls
who hand over the drinks to the players.
Pretty much anything and everything to keep the tournament running smoothly.

There are food trucks around the main stadium every year.
My favorite is the Okinawan soba.
This year something was different though.
My sister was there, too!
The players lounge was looking for someone to help out
so I offered my sister to them. haha.
It was a lot of fun having her here.
Another thing that happens every year.
The one day you want to go home early?
The players end up hashing it out past midnight.
Thanks guys.
But it’s all good, we make do.
By taking silly pictures, of course!
The final game this year was
Nadal vs Monfils.
The crowd was loving it.
But by the end of the tournament
everyone is pretty tired.
Especially the ball kids who run around under the sun all day.
They get their zzz’s where ever they can.

Nadal won the tournament!
And we all sighed with relief
as another tournament came to an end.
See you all again next year! x
(We did not win the pair tickets to Johannesburg…we were helping out the event!)

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