I love the U.S. Open.
I love that I used to think John McEnroe was a complete idiot, and now he's one of the best commentators in television.
I love that you can be ranked 132 in the world, have the match of your life, and send the top seed home early.
I love that rowdy fans cheer for their favorite players, creating fan clubs like "The J Block" and "The Fish Tank."
I love Payton and Eli Manning threatening to take out the Williams sisters in that Oreo Cookie commercial.
Really, I love it all.
I went to the U.S. Open once, back when I was a lawyer. Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi, and I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brooke Shields, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Billy Joel in the stands. I felt pretty fancy. I took approximately 1,000 pictures, wanting to remember everything forever. Unfortunately, the film development place did something funky, and superimposed my Christmas pictures from earlier on the roll over the top of my U.S. Open pictures. Which means I now have dozens of shots that look like my 1-year old nephew opening gifts in the middle of Louis Armstrong Stadium....
I dream of being organized enough to go back. It's not difficult, or even all that expensive in the early rounds. But it requires more thinking in advance than I've been able to pull off so far. I think the problem is that the U.S. Open is my gateway into this new season: until I see it on TV, I'm in complete denial that summer is ending. These two weeks of tennis ease my transition, so that by the time the champions are declared next weekend, I'll be ready to move on to the first great activity of autumn: back to school shopping :)
My picks this year? Andy Roddick and Venus Williams.
(If my record with the Olympics offers any indication of my predictive abilities, they'll both be out by the end of the next round...)