While the Republicans and Democrats were slinging lies and insults at each other in the name of freedom, another quaint American custom was getting under way in a New York Meadow called Flushing.
This exercise features men and women swinging clubs at each other and hitting yellow balls at their feet. It is called the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, and has been going on since 1881. The best participants get paid handsomely: Last year: $ 900,000 for the gifted wild-haired American woman named Serena in her loss as a finalist, (the winner, Australian Samantha Stosur won $1,800,000) and $450,000 for a Swiss semifinalist who probably has a few bank accounts in the homeland — Roger Federer. (Winner Djokovic won $1,800,000). This year’s prize money: a whopping $1,900,000 to each winner, men’s and women’s.
As an amusement, the Open is sometimes overshadowed as this one was today. Although it has been played at Flushing since 1978, there is an offshoot called the Super Seniors, played on God’s own grass at Longwood Cricket in Boston. Older than Wimbledon, the Cricket Club appeals to the more mature males. Will Federer be a contender for the Super Senior 85’s title 55 years from now?
Fred Kovaleski, 88, of New York City took that prize by defeating Bob Meyerdierkss of St. Petersburg, FL, 6-2, 6-1. The 85 Doubles winners were: Tony Franco, 87, of Briarcliff NY and Graydon Nichols, 87, of Hanford CA defeatimg James Mackey 86, of VA Beach VA and Bob Meyerdierks of St. Petersburg FL 6-4, 6-2.
But the 90 Singles was the ultimate achievement. Henry Tiberio, 90, of Beverly, MA. He beat WT Mathes , 92, of Johnson City Tennessee 6-2, 6-1. In the 90 Doubles, Henry Tiberio- Beverly Mass. and Stephen Parson, 90, of Hamilton MA. defeated Howard Kuntz, 94, of Mandeville, LA and W.T. Mathes of Johnson City, TN 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. You could imagine Mathes muttering under his breath: “If I were only 90, I could have beaten up on him.”
How will Federer fare when it’s time for him to crash through into the 90s? Hard to say, but for now the formidable Henry Tiberio can crow. “Life goes on and on and on at 90!”