Saturday, May 9, 2015

Powershares Series VIP Experience

For Christmas, Meezy bought me a pretty amazing present. He knows how much of a tennis fan I am (we've been to Wimbledon and the US Open), and how Roddick used to be one of my favorite players.  He found out that Roddick was joining the Powershares Series this year. We've been to one of those events in the past, when we got to see Agassi play in Vegas a couple years ago. This time around, Meezy offered to take me on a trip to watch Roddick play in another city. I looked over the schedule and determined that there really wasn't any place I was THAT interested in traveling to, especially since Jude would only be about 4 months old at the time. I told him I'd be fine with just going to the event in Dallas. He started to buy the match tickets and discovered they offered VIP experiences. Since we weren't going to be spending any money on travel, he figured he could upgrade my experience instead. When he told me about it, I was pretty shocked. The VIP package consisted of an hour-long group hitting session with Andy Roddick and Mark Philippoussis, a catered dinner and Q&A session with Roddick, Philippoussis, John McEnroe, and Jim Courier, and then courtside seats for the matches later that night.  The thought of being in the same room with Roddick, let alone exchanging shots with him on the tennis court, gave me butterflies. 

When we arrived for the event, I joined the other attendees on the tennis court, while Meezy watched and took pictures from the stands. Sure enough, out came Andy and Mark, and the fun began!  We all partnered up with another attendee and went through an hour of different hitting drills with the pros. There were only about ten people in the session, so we got a lot of playing time and interaction with the guys. I was nervous as hell, and admittedly too tentative in my hitting, but I got to participate in a lot of fun rallies. To say that I have had Andy Roddick and Mark Philippoussis serve to me is pretty crazy (I whiffed on one of Andy's!).  I exchanged groundstrokes and volleys with them, and snuck in a dropshot that caused a slight rift between them. It was awesome!

Checking myself out on the big screen

My opponents

Is this real life?

Can't believe I played tennis with these guys

After the hitting session, we got to introduce ourselves to the players and take some pictures. The session after mine was with Courier and McEnroe, so we got some interaction with them too. I got Courier's autograph on a tennis ball and the event provided us with a picture frame signed by all 4 of the pros.  

Pinch me

I like to pretend Andy and I were both playing it coy here

Posing with a tennis legend

We got a chance to get cleaned up and change after the hitting session, and then the dinner and Q&A began. There was a great buffet spread and an open bar. Each pro came in for an interview and then the floor was opened up for questions. It was so cool to have it in an intimate setting like this, because the guys were all relaxed, the questions were casual, and you really felt like they could connect with the audience. 

Shortly after the Q&A ended, the matches began! First up was McEnroe vs. Courier, then Roddick vs. Philippoussis, and then the final between McEnroe and Roddick. Our seats were courtside, even with the back baseline. It was crazy to be that close to the action. The guys were within a few feet of us, literally within arms length at times. The matches are so fun because the players interact with the fans, heckle each other, and sometimes randomly come over to the crowd during play. It's not unusual for a player to stop and sign an autograph for a fan between points. Roddick broke his racket during play and handed it to a spectator as a souvenir. McEnroe even ate some popcorn from a fan nearby us. It's just so laidback and entertaining.

Hello, eye contact

This experience was truly spectacular and definitely the best gift I have ever received! My hubby is amazing for always seeking out activities that he knows I'll enjoy and for making them happen. I'm still pinching myself for having had this opportunity and am so grateful for all the pictures and videos I have from that day. It's probably a once in a lifetime experience, but that isn't going to stop me from checking out the schedule next year to see who the players will be!! 

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