AllyR in Ciny – final report

Photo by AllyR

Photo by AllyR

I’ve been trying to remind myself of the reasons I’m happy to be home:

1. I sleep more than 4 hours a night here.
2. Bottled water doesn’t cost $5.
3. The chances of skin cancer and Rafa-induced cardiac events are much lower in Pittsburgh.
4. I’ve missed my dog.
5. Low likelihood of bumping into Novak at breakfast in my kitchen.
6. I earn an income rather than bleed money.
7. I no longer coat everything I touch with a filmy white layer of sunscreen.

But I will miss scheduling my day around the order of play.

Yesterday was eerily similar to Saturday exactly a year ago. Both days I slept in, had lunch at Bravo, went to tennis, watched Rafa lose in the night match to Novak Djokovic in the semis, sulked my way back through the field to the car, and had a nightcap at The Polo Grill in Mason, OH. Last year my travel buddy and I declared ourselves “the saddest Rafa fans on the planet” that night. This year the feeling was familiar. But then I remembered how the night ended last year.

After last year’s match, my buddy and I had finished a pitcher of Sangria and returned to the hotel, and caught Rafa as he was coming in from the parking lot. Buddy owned a pair of Rafa’s shoes and had hoped for an autograph on his shoe as a souvenir. I had been carrying around one of the shoes in my bag in case we had an opportunity, and we feared this would be our last chance, so we approached and made the request. Rafa was, of course, accompanied by Team Rafa. They were all smiley and laughing, and Rafa was carrying his racquet bag and duffel bag, and a big bag of Burger King and 32 oz. soda. This was clearly his I-Just-Lost-I’ll-Eat-What-I-Want meal. He was sweet to sign buddy’s shoe (which totally lifted our spirits) and smiled at us as he walked on to the elevator. This was a teaching moment. Only one guy can win this week and next week there’ll be another shot at a title. Good result, on to the next one. If the loss had bothered him at all, apparently all it took was some Burger King to move past it and focus on the positive.

Last night I fought the urge to bum around as we drove to the Polo Grill and then back to the hotel. And of course, once we returned to the hotel, I spotted Rafa in the parking lot. He and Team Rafa were coming back from dinner and each was carrying a big cup of ice cream. Rafa slung his bags over his shoulder and stepped away from the SUV so Maymo could dig through the stuff in the back. While they waited, he gave girlfriend a big smooch, then scarfed on his ice cream. This is clearly a man who knows how to make himself feel better after a loss. It is what it is, life goes on, right Rafa?

My flickr pictures are updated through the final. I hope to create a Cincy 09 Highlight Reel set sometime soon. Thanks to Miri and everyone else for sharing this week with me, I had such a tremendous time. Hope to see you in Cincy next year:)

18 Responses

  1. Atch2 says:

    AllyR, u made me laugh and giggle while reading this and all your other blogs. Thanks for sharing ur memories.

    U know u r a Rafa-magnet. Everywhere u go, Rafa seems to be around somewhere. Can u come to the AO 2010 with me?

    How did ur buddy get a pair of Rafa’s shoes? Was Rafa surprised by that?

    Rafa sounds chilled and relaxed. That’s what I like to hear. Xisca and ice cream does the trick. Man she’s lucky. Man he’s lucky too.

    AllyR, what kind of dog do u have?

    And someone actually held up a ‘Miss u Rafa’ sign in the Nole-Fed finals match? LOL

    • Ally says:

      Sorry, not literally a pair of HIS shoes, just the same shoes he was wearing at that time in the season. We’re not THAT good! :)

      My dogs name is Wednesday, she’s a yellow lab–real sweetheart. She seems to be glad to be home from the kennel. Her hotel was clearly not as fun as mine.

      I don’t know what the sign said on the front, but the back made me real happy…

      • Atch2 says:

        An active, sweet, lovable dog like a lab? no wonder u also have a soft-side for Rafa. But I still don’t understand why Rafa doesn’t like dogs. He looks like a dog person to me.

        • mary says:

          He really doesn’t like dogs? Rafi they’re just like you, cute, cuddly, adorable & faithful. Having all sorts of funny thoughts here. Like which one of you would hold the leed, or Xisca would just have to muzzle you when you got too excited. I’m stopping now. ;) ;D

  2. miri says:

    Thanks for the reports, Ally!

  3. killian says:

    Love this report, Ally. Thanks for all the NOT sleeping to experience the tournament then share with us. You ARE a Rafamagnet!

  4. mary says:

    Awesome report Ally. Between you & miri we have at least a years supply of pics & some amazing & funny stories. You both made me feel I was there & close to Rafi.
    Thanks again it’s been great.

  5. Melissa V says:

    Thanks for sharing your week with us. It made me feel like I was there. I’ll definitely think about going to this tournament next year.

  6. Carol says:

    Hah, Rafa snurfles fast food big time – he,he (even I indulge, who really likes to know where my grub comes from – I’ll grow it myself preferably): we all do it, even if it smells better then it tastes (scene – late night kebab van – yeh, well for Rafa’s health, perhaps not some of the ones I’ve experienced in Oxford).

    Oh it’s so great to see him as a normal 23-yr old bloke. Chill with Xisca and get that mindset going…

    IMHO: better BK (hope it was the Angus Special range) than MaccyD.

  7. johanne says:

    Awesome reporting, Ally! Sounds like you had a great week (even if Rafa had to lose in the end…wah waaaaahhh, LOL!). I’m seriously considering going to this tourney next year. Maybe we can meet up and drool over Rafa together. ;)

  8. Wooffie says:

    Ally … I have absolutely loved reading your reports, so thank you so much for doing them. Its fantastic getting Rafanews from a real fan with a real perspective of all the news and atmosphere of the tournament. Not to mention all the Rafa sightings.

    Thanks again xxx

  9. An says:

    Ally, glad you arrived safely home!

    Thanks a lot girl for youre awesome reports of youre week in Cincy, seems you realy made the most out off it and you gave us a bit of a view into evry day life for our Rafa wich means so much more to me than all the same questions ( and awnsers from Rafa ) wich the journo’s ask over and over again..
    *floved* it!

  10. dutchgirl says:

    What else can I say but: thanks a lot for sharing the off-court happenings of the tournament. It’s stuff like that you don’t read in the paper, but which I really enjoy reading.
    I can’t believe you’re so lucky to have run into Rafa two years in a row!
    Keep going to these tournies, so we will hear about Rafa much more in the future!

  11. nereis says:

    Thank you so much for your report and your awesome pics!

  12. Delta says:

    Hey AlyR, what a great source you are for “All things Nadal” Much appreciated for your long hours and gripping play by play….. As well as your flicker, great memories for you & all of us. Enjoy your su casa
    and your dog of course!

  13. faeaki 7 says:

    Hi AllyR, real joy to read again! I am glad they acknowledged Rafa with “miss you ” banners in the final. Sure wasn’t much of a final without Rafa!!! Djokovic seemed to have lost it from the start, a complete contrast from the night before..
    You are so lucky to have seen Rafa twice in a row, must be fate! and I am glad he was in good spirits, looking forward to your next blog AllyR thanx!!!

  14. AnaR says:

    Many many thanks for your report Ally.. It’s really nice and funny. Congratulations!.

  15. Sherrij says:

    Hey AllyR, thanks for sharing. I was lucky enough to make it to Rafa’s semi. We drove over six hours, had car trouble and got lost but we did make it to the match. I didn’t get an autograph but maybe next year. What hotel did you see Rafa at? If I get to go next year I would love to say hi and get his autograph.