Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer in London: 5:00am Football discussions, Cricket?, Wimbledon

Hello from across the pond! Apologies for my small break from posts, but I have been in a transitional phase into my life in London! I am spending the whole summer studying abroad with a program called Foundation for International Education (FIE), information can be found here: Throughout the summer I will write posts about my time here and how I have experienced sport. Below is my first post, recapping my first two weeks.

I arrived in London on June 20th, prepared for my 2.5 months in the United Kingdom. On my way to Heathrow I had a layover in Dublin, Ireland; here I had my first experience with UK sports.

Sitting in the Dublin Airport, at 5:00am, next to people drinking pint after pint of Guinness, I overhear two young men, no more than 10, speaking about football (soccer to us Americans). It was so early and my body was so thrown off from my 6 hours that I can't quite remember their conversation specifics, but I do remember how amazed I was by their knowledge. They went back and forth for 20 minutes naming player after player, stat after stat, until their father had finally had enough of the banter and shut them both down by proving that his knowledge of football exceeded both of them greatly. The passion all three of these fans, even the young ones, showed for their sport and their team at 5:00am fascinated me. I knew at this moment that I was in for a new breed of sport fans.

My day was not over when it comes to experiencing UK sports. I boarded my plane to London with the expectation of a quick easy flight. Soon after boarding an announcement came from the captain that our flight included members of the Irish under 18 national cricket team. The plane exploded in applause and cheers for the team. Out of all popular sports in the world, cricket is the one I know the least about, by far. I am sorry to say that my knowledge of the sport has not increased since arriving in London, but I definitely plan on trying to attend a match by the end of my summer here. I have been continuously exposed to cricket players through traveling throughout London on the Tube, watching British television, and watching the Championships Wimbledon. Famous Cricket players are treated just like the professional athletes in America, and with some receiving the highest honor of being considered "Sir"'s and being knighted by the Queen.

Following my full first day in the UK I began planning one of the most important days of my whole summer: Wimbledon. Going to Wimbledon has been a dream of mine for my entire life. Growing up playing tennis, I would sometimes wear all white to my matches during the summer just to look like my favorite player, Andy Roddick. In planning with my roommates, it was quite tough to find a day that we could all make it out to Wimbledon and spend the most amount of time possible on the grounds. The day was finally chosen, it would be Wednesday July 3rd. The day came, and following class, we headed out to Wimbledon and got into the "Queue", which is basically a line for those that did not purchase tickets in advance. After over an hour in the Queue we finally entered the grounds at about 2pm. The day was absolutely incredible. Seeing how the locals and workers communicated flawlessly with those that came from all across the world to watch the matches was amazing. The borough of Wimbledon and the city of London live for this two week tournament, and that was very evident in the way everyone acted.

The day was everything I could have expected. I sat on Henman Hill amongst thousands of other fans to watch the United Kingdom's next (and really only) male with a chance to win the Wimbledon title, Andy Murray. He won the match in extraordinary fashion, coming back from 2 sets down to beat Fernando Verdasco in 5 sets. Being in amongst all of his die-hard fans made the experience that much more worthwhile. While on the grounds of the club we also had the chance to walk around and see a lot of things, including the players lounge (from outside the lounge obviously), the pro shop, and multiple other courts and matches including doubles teams and juniors. This experience was amazing and I would recommend to anyone thinking about taking a trip to South London for the ultimate Tennis tournament.

That summarizes my first two weeks in the UK and how I have experienced sport. I am very excited to see what else this city has for me! Follow me for pictures and things I experience everyday:

Instagram: kevinjmurray
Twitter: Kevinj_murray


Kevin Murray is a sophomore Sport Management Major at Drexel University. He is originally from Havertown, PA, a small suburb of Philadelphia. He worked in the Drexel Sport Management Department as a Research Assistant focusing on the Penn State scandal, equity in collegiate sports, and Title IX.  Currently, Kevin is the SMTSU Treasurer and Drexel Athletics Marketing Intern.  You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinj_murray.

Connect with Kevin Murray on LinkedIn.

1 comment:

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