Toronto 2015 Pan American Games Tennis DrawGuido Andreozzi

My dedication to supporting the Pan American Games 2015 continued as I had previously purchased tickets to attend the Semi-finals of the Tennis event at the National Tennis Centre at York University. I enlisted a fellow tennis player of mine to come with me, and she and I hopped down there with looming clouds.

We were to be disappointed as after no less than 15 minutes of getting there, matches were suspended due to a torrential downpour. Hours later were were sitting around and as she was showing me how to use Tindr (on her phone of course) I just moaned about how lucky she was and whatnot. Being adorable and nice, albeit oblivious, pays dividends in the dating world.

Guido AndreozziGuido Andreozzi

While we discussed the possibilities of the entire session being rained out, we decided to stick it out. As a result of our dedication we were two of about 20 spectators in Centre Court to witness a Mens Semifinal Match between Argentina and Columbia. It was slightly underwhelming, and as we giggled here and there we both caught the eye of the Argentine player, Guido Andreoozi. While he was beaten in straight sets, he looked up at us (probably her) a few times, and we commented on his lack of form on backhand and slow footspeed. It was a well balanced match, but clearly the better Columbian won and progressed to the gold metal match.

Guido Andreozzi & Facundo BagnisNational Tennis Centre

It was at this moment that I resolved to supporting the Argentine player for the rest of the tournament. I discovered that he was in the Semi-finals of all 3 events that he was eligible for: mens singles, mens doubles, mixed doubles. So I thought, okay it will give me something to do.

On being a fan boy…

It was at this moment I decided to follow the 195th ranked in the world player. I knew nothing about him, I knew nothing about his background, I knew nothing about his personal life, I knew nothing about his personality, but I decided that he needed someone other than his coaches to support him. As a result, I was out on the cold Court 1, a few hours later to watch him and his partner play Barbados for a spot in the gold medal game.

Needless to say, when I went outside they were just arriving and the skies were threatening. I curled up in the 3rd row, and started cheering for the Argentine pair to proceed. No less than 20 minutes in, play was suspended due to rain and I was running for the stadium to stay dry. It was at this point that I encountered a few former colleagues of mine, and we chatted out the rain delay for about an hour and half – and then I went back outside. It was at this point approximately 9pm, and the match didn’t end until 10pm. I was one of only a few people in the stands besides coaches, and a bunch of “bros” that were supporting the Barbadian team. With a huge “¡ VAMOS !” to conclude the victory, both myself and the Argentine pair cheering in jubilation that they would play for gold.

I went back into the stadium for a washroom break, and bought tickets for the next day – determined to support my player Guido for his upcoming mixed, singles bronze medal game, and mens doubles gold medal match.

Pan Am Badminton Jun 13Pan Am Badminton Jun 13

Since I realized that the Pan American Games were going to be hosted in Toronto during the summer of 2015, I made an immediate realization that I would have to go, given that opportunities to see sporting events that I’m interested in doesn’t come very often. I resolved to buying tickets online at decent rates, which I imagine was due to the fact that most people coming to Toronto to visit the games would be strapped for cash, coming from less developed countries in many instances. As a result of this I obtained tickets for my first event: badminton.

As a I commuted to the location at the Atos Markham Pan Am/Parapan Am Centre in Unionville (Markham), it took me about an hour and half to get there from my living location. I thought, this is fine, and despite being 5 minutes late I entered into the location. There weren’t crowds of people, and despite being decked out in PanAm colours and signs, it just didn’t feel like I was there apart of something larger.

I sat in the uncomfortable stands and watched a bunch of singles, doubles, and mixed matches. I took some photos to show to my students to motivate them, and then I was on my way after the short 3 hour session. It was a bit underwhelming, but still a cool experience to witness Canadians in a Canadian hosted place, who were passionate and welcoming to their athletes. As I went back home and stopped for pizza I wondered whether or not the rest of the game would be equally as underwhelming to my expectations. After all, the only thing I could compare this to would be the little brother of the Olympics, but so far it didn’t seem to be a little brother; more so an infant baby in terms of size and hype/excitement.

It was an interested experience and a nice way to get integrated in, but going by myself was very underwhelming.