Sunday was my birthday. Normally, I don’t really do much for my birthdays, except make sure to schedule one of my favorite workouts and then just revel in letting them pass without much further notice.  But this year, that just wasn’t the case and it was awesome!

Originally, my plan was my normal great class then low key day, but a few weeks before, while at the evian Wooden Racquet Cup, I was invited to the US Open Women’s Final Match by my friend at the NYC PR firm for evian. The match was scheduled for the Saturday night before my birthday and I said “yes” immediately. I have wanted to attend the US Open since moving to NYC but could never afford to actually go. The Friday before the match, I got an email from the girl I was going with that said she wasn’t feeling well and did I want to take the Fella with the other ticket? Ummm… yes! So Saturday afternoon, I met her and got the tickets. I was giddy about getting to go but the weather was crazy that day -(Seriously? Tornadoes?) and by the time we were getting ready to leave that night, the match had been postponed to late Sunday afternoon.

Thankfully, my birthday treat of a class was one of my favorite Flywheel classes with the mighty Danielle Devine which starts every Sunday at 12:30, so even with the match getting moved, I didn’t have to miss it! The class was insanely awesome (and challenging). Danielle was on fire, some of my favorite songs were on the playlist and the room contained some of my favorite fellow loud riders – the energy was insane! It was the perfect kick-off to the day.  After class, the fella and I hurried home as fast as our jelly-legs could take us, to change and head out again.

We made it out to the Arthur Ashe stadium in Queens well before the match was supposed to start – we even had time to pick up a souvenir shirt before we headed in to find our seats! I had seen the stadium on television, of course, but in person, it is really a beautiful space. Huge but with amazing seating. We sat in the middle of the stadium and had a clear, unobstructed view of all the action. I don’t know much about the rules of tennis but have never been so riveted by any sporting event as I was with the match between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. It was the first Women’s Final at the US Open to go all 3 sets in 17 years! This was a match that was an epic nail biter and watching that kind of passion, skill and drive, was just awe-inspiring. Even if I was occasionally lost about the nuances of the game (really I don’t get the scoring at all), just being there with a stadium filled with people who were also captivated by the skill being demonstrated, I was just enthralled with the action on the court. When Serena actually came back in the third set after being down – the entire crowd erupted on the last shot and sprang to their feet. I can’t believe how lucky I was to get to be there to see it – I couldn’t have asked for a better game for my first time at the US Open. I will definitely be back next year….

After the match, we rushed back to Manhattan to meet up with my brother who was in town for a few days and wanted to take me out for a birthday dinner. So, after an amazing day, I was treated to a ridiculously good dinner with people I love.

Seriously, does a day get better than that? Best. Birthday. EVER.

photos by Eric C Stafford

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