sometimes it’s better in the cheap(er) seats…

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14/01/2011 by Sarah Ritchie

ASB Classic final 2011

Yanina Wickmayer serves to Greta Arn, ASB Classic singles final 2011.

Last week I attended the WTA Tour singles final of the ASB Classic. We watched the unseeded, 88th ranked women’s player – Greta Arn (Hungary) – demolish Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium, ranked 23rd) on a sizzling hot Auckland day.

The main court at the Auckland tennis stadium has two “covered” stands and two “uncovered” stands, plus the obligatory courtside corporate boxes.

We watched the boxes receive all the expected personal treatment…wine, beer, food, waiters. We also watched their heads move from side to side, like fairground sideshow clowns, while they sweltered under the sun for over three hours.

I was sitting under cover, minimally sweating (due to the temperature of the day, rather than the direct sun), and I had a baseline court view where my neck could rest easy for the entire match. Though my day didn’t come served with champagne, I had to wonder, who had the better deal?

That reminded me of the time when I went to see “An Intimate Concert with Sting” (which is marketing-speak for “we are not sure if he can sell out a large stadium”).

The stage occupied one side of the indoor stadium. Tiered “silver” (priced) seating was located at the centre back and tiered “bronze” seats were at the two sides. The precious “gold” seats were on one level at the front of the stage. In spite of my intense adoration of Sting (at the time) my bank balance dictated that I was to sit in the “bronze” section. Though side-on, the view was still pretty good, I have to say.

We were informed, prior to the show, that we were to remain in our seats for the entire performance. That mandate was respected during the first half the show while Sting treated us to some of his latter work. However, as soon as the first bars of an old Police number were struck, fans poured out of the “cheap” seats and made their way to the front of the stage, with little or no opposition from officials.

Finding their expensive view suddenly blocked, the “gold” patrons stood up to see…and had to remain standing for the rest of the performance. Meanwhile, I was quite comfortable…sitting…in my “bronze” seat for the entire night.

I am sure there is a life lesson in here somewhere. It might be to do with “money can’t buy happiness (or a guaranteed view)” or maybe even “be thankful for what you have…you never know what surprises are around the corner”. Whichever way, on both occasions I had a rather large, silly smile on my face that those in the “gold” seats just couldn’t understand…


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