At this time last night I was waiting patiently outside Arthur Ashe Stadium waiting for the finish of the Women's US Open Finals because I was given the honor of carrying a flag for the closing ceremony. Although there was no tv easily viewed from our location we were sent frequent updates about the status of the match. And when the uproar of the crowd penetrated the large double doors we all knew that it was over, Serena had won.
Along with 18 other ballpersons, I quickly made my way to center court, carrying my American flag high and proud. The crowd was still going wild, flashes were going off in every direction, and to top it all off, I nearly bumped into Serena as I walked onto the court. Her family had been seated in the bleachers just above the doors we had entered through so she had immediately raced over there to shake their hands, just as we were walking out. I was so caught up in making sure that my flag didn't touch the ground that I barely noticed her until she was about 3 feet away. Her excitement was so palpable at that distance. It was incredible.
We then lined up behind the net, and I lowered the butt of my flagpole onto my right foot. I don't think there was a better seat in the house to watch the presentation of the trophies. I was about as close to the excitement as you could get. A couple of people even saw me on TV (CBS) standing directly behind Serena and Jelena while they received their Tiffany and Co. trophies and very nice checks. My favorite part was when the presenter announced that Serena had won $1.5 million. Jelena then asked how much she would get. The most important question of course.