So, the Challenger is done. I still have to put together a recap for the USTA so I can get paid, and my friends can get some nice gifts for Christmas, but yeah, everything wrapped up quite smoothly. I'm very thankful that I had Alex to spend the time with. He's very good at what he does, and despite all the crap that we give each other, it was a lot of fun all week long. Webbie was awesome with her Jimmy Johns runs, and her ability to make me laugh. Julia was sweet enough to deal with me when exhausted, and to come out twice to sit and enjoy some tennis. And Leigh kept me calm when I completely wigged on Friday.
Now, I am ready to focus on basketball, my personal life again, and my running. Exciting times are in front of me. More later.
Let's see.....friend update: Ali is in Dubai. Unreal. She was sitting there, and Jelena Jankovic came up and talked to her. Ted: Jamaica. Freaking Jamaica. And he recently went to Lebanon. Intern: Living in San Diego, spent Halloween in Las Vegas.
Apparently I need to get cracking.
Things are really good, though. I have no major complaints. For the most part, I managed to get my house at least picked up and organized ahead of the tournament. Today I'm paying my bills, and I'm ready to start Christmas shopping once we're done here. I know this all sounds really mundane, but these are the things that I've failed to do the last few years. So.....I'll take it.
So downtown Champaign nearly burned to the ground yesterday. I have this conspiracy theory that somehow, someone who wants to continue with the new buildings that are being constructed around the area, did this on purpose. Just a hunch.
The soccer team is waiting this weekend to find out if they make the NCAA tournament. I'm going to think positively. In the mean time, you can (hopefully, if I post this correctly) watch one of our award winning versions of Corner Kicks.
Today, Monday November 3rd, officially starts the two weeks of crazy that is the Challenger tennis tournament. This year, it has been toned down a bit for me, as the USTA would not allow us to do our own programs. Less writing for me, and less stress, but bad for fans. And isn't that what the USTA should be working towards? Building back up a dwindling fan base? Lord. I don't claim to know the answers all the time, but this is a no brainer. If there are bright and enterprising people at the tournament sites, take advantage of them, and let them do things that they think will enhance the experience for fans. If not, you're wasting money, and ideas. And that's disappointing.
First basketball game yesterday. From my standpoint, it went as well as can be expected. No flub-ups, a good amount of energy, and the voice held up. Of course, on the message board, there was still one or two "this PA guy.....he sucks. Long live Jim Sheppard." That's cool. It's to be expected. I guess. I'm just happy to be doing my job, and getting paid to do it. I'm pretty lucky that way.
While I look forward to the end of the Challenger on November 16th, I'm not sure if I'm more excited about the fact that I'll be down to just one sport for announcing/covering (basketball), or the fact that I'll be able to start planning the CrackMonkey trip to Las Vegas. I think I may have a problem. Correction. I know I have a problem. But dammit, it's just so much fun!!!
Final thoughts: Tonight is our final softball game of the year. My brain and my beat up body both say thank goodness. - Now that I think about it, I'm also very excited to clean my house after the Challenger is over too. And hopefully, have Bonita take her cast off, so she's happy again. - Had a chance to be a celebrity waiter at a benefit for CASA last week. Had a blast, took off my pants, and met some wonderful people. -Oh, and the Bonita update: She hides all the time now, only coming out for food, and naptime with me. It's very depressing.
On that note, I'm off to go dress like John McCain.