Because I am a wonderful son to a doting mother and father, a couple of years ago I purchased 2 tickets to the ATP tennis finals, which is held each year at the millennium bivouac. Being in the lower order of the 2nd and last innings of their lives, they are unlikely to make the trip across London to Wimbledon, and The Tent is only up the road I thought I’d buy them the chance to watch Federer, Nadal, Sour Faced Jock and the rest. They’d love it, thought I. My mum was especially looking forward to it. Being a woman she doesn’t follow real sport so it’s good to get her something she does understand and enjoy. The hairdressers and Bluewater were shut.
So I forked out the considerable sum (I told you it was a while ago) one pays for such event and secured two tickets for the opening night. On the menu was a men’s doubles game, the Scotch geezer vrs Soderling, then a mixed doubles match and lastly Rafa Nadal vrs everyone’s favourite cheating Serb, Novak Djokovic. I’d present to them the tickets, and shortly after receiving my “Son of the Year” award, I would drop mum and dad off as close to the Greenwich landmark (I was living but a couple of miles away then) go home, have a meal, watch a movie, maybe even grab a couple of zeds before it’d be time to pick up the parents again.
All went well at first. Yes, they loved the gift, and were thrilled that they were to see both Djoko and Jocko. On the day, I delivered them to as close to the gate as I could, I then drove home, shoes off and mused about what The Incumbent and I were gonna have for dinner. I suppose it would have been around 4pm. At about 6.10 my phone went. It was mum.
“We’re ready to come home now, Mike” she said.
“What ??” says I. “They can’t have finished four matches in two hours ?”
“No, we’ve been thrown out” she replied, as if that would answer all my questions.
“Thrown out ?” I couldn’t believe it. I started wondering who dad had had a row with for them to be ejected. He can be a bolshie bastard at times. Thanks god I take after mother.
Further investigation and interrogation revealed that the tickets I had bought (a snip at £80 each) were for only the first two matches of the day. “The afternoon session”. I felt such a fool. I should have known from the cheap cost of the seats that one couldn’t expect to pay a mere £160 and see a whole day’s play.
I was fuming. I cannot relay to you effectively just how angry I was. Letters and emails were sent (mum likes writing a shitty letter too) and we all vowed there and then never to darken the Dome’s door again. (I have since broken this vow about 6 times, but at the time I meant it.)
I’ve calmed down now. Really I have. I only bring up the whole sordid story as I was sent just now an email by my old pal Philip who is, shall we say a tad miffed about similar money-grabbing schemes of the water in Olympic Park (“never!” I don’t hear you cry). I’ll let Phil tell the story :
“…[there’s] the shocking revelation that we have failed to buy all the tickets made available in the latest release. Apparently we have passed up on 300,000 and are no longer the greatest sports lovers on the planet. The real shock is how they are getting away with chopping up the sporting day into tiny little parcels are thereby selling the same seat 6 or 7 times a day. You can spend £450 to watch an hour and 5 minutes of moistened bints falling from the high board in the Aquatic centre.
31 July 2012
Diving Women’s Synchronised 10m Platform Final
Women’s Synchronised 10m Platform Victory Ceremony
Session Code: DV003 Aquatics Centre
£450.00 – AA
£295.00 – A
£185.00 – B
£95.00 – C
£50.00 – D
Or if you fancy a bit of Robin Hood at Lords you could pay £65 for a team elimination session that starts at 9 finishes at 10.40 in the morning. You’ll be back out on the pavement before the boozers have even opened.
28 July 2012
09:00-10:40 Archery Men’s Team 1/8 Eliminations
Session Code: AR003 Lord’s Cricket Ground £65.00 – A
£45.00 – B
£30.00 – C
£20.00 – D
Un-fucking believable. Athletics is even worse – not that there are any tickets to be had for that. But if you did somehow get that Willy Wonka magic ticket you could easily get lost inside the stadium and get to your seat just in time to meet the bloke who had next use of it settling in.”
And you thought it was just me. Thanks Phil. I know somewhere you can buy a great T-shirt to make your feelings known.
In my mum and dad’s case, dad had just returned to his seat carrying two £7.50 sandwiches, where an overall-dressed worker was cleaning up and clearing away the discarded cups and wrappers from the first session.
“You might as well leave that, mate, we’re still sitting there” pater informed the cleaner.
“No, sir, you have to go now”
Oddly, an argument ensued, ending with dad attempting to insert a subway baguette into an o2 official.
I can’t understand why people get so upset.