Two days at Wimbledon, two very different experiences. I wouldn’t go so far as to describe the queue as socially mixed, but there was a substantial non-English contingent. Most of the people queuing knew a fair bit about tennis; the debenture ticketholders – when they weren’t chatting about business or checking their work email – seemed flummoxed that Murray had lost. I was on my own in the queue, but I felt like I was part of something. In the debenture area, the point was to feel separate.
Yet on both days, I got the sense that being at Wimbledon was something I was expected to feel privileged about – as if taking part in a great British institution was the whole point of the exercise. British tennis, despite Murray, isn’t doing particularly well. It’s hard not to suspect that Wimbledon may be part of the problem."
Mostly, though, winning is not actually the overall objective expressed by the people; not publicly at least. Everyone is just somehow elated to have reached the final, happy to be anxious, relishing the details over and over again, full of desire. It is a wonderful state and one wishes it could last longer. Some sentiments of patriotic fervour are seeping through, mostly from the media, and if, as Norman Douglas once wrote, “you can tell the ideas of a nation by its advertisements”, then this nation is a sentimental, flag‑waving, proud to be Argentinian, weepy melodramatic entity.
However, if one probes social media and measures the temperature of the kids milling about, the guitar-playing teens and the poetry-loving intellectuals are churning out gems 10 to the dozen; finding beauty in ideas, conversation and football itself; relishing still images of the games so far, close-ups of the players, analysing every detail of the tournament instant by instant. All this is eliciting interesting thoughts about what it might all mean, and ultimately, how it probably means nothing more than the pleasure of its own existence."