Storm Warning

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul admits to cheating on Venus Williams with a TV host.

Hannah with Andy Roddick

And just like that, in the midst of windy conditions wreaking havoc at the US Open, the Storm disappeared.  No, not the piddly remnants of Hurricane Earl.  I’m talking about the real deal.  Hannah Storm.  That’s right, this year I’ve been two-timing my girl Venus for a tennis girlfriend who doesn’t even step on the court.  I was watching the coverage, they go to break, and the next thing I know, Hannah was gone.  And I was crushed.

Hannah may not have Venus’ forceful serve, but the ESPN anchor has a power all her own.  I’m mesmerized by her ability to keep the brothers McEnroe from coming to fist-a-cuffs on air.  Even better, she knows when to cut off Mary Jo Fernandez in favor of the always accurate and Aussie cutie Darren Cahill.

My guess is that Hannah hasn’t been visiting the US Open as long as me.  This is my ten-year anniversary of attending my favorite annual sporting event.  In fact, the first time I went was on an early date with Chef.  Someone had given me tickets and I asked Chef he wanted to go.  I always say you get to know someone when you travel—even more so at a major sporting event.  Chef had no interest whatsoever in the athletic prowess of the competitors choosing instead to explore the food on offer.  When a freak cold front moved through dropping the temperature nearly 40 degrees, Chef was exposed to my occasionally spendthrift ways.  He was so cold that he wanted to leave.  Not me.  I insisted on purchasing two $150 fleece sweatshirts so that we could stay until the bitter end.  Chef was aghast.  I still think it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.

A lot has changed over the years.  Not always for the better.  I’ve been keeping a list of questions and concerns in case someone who cared—someone like, say, Hannah Storm—ever asked me.

  • Why can’t they figure out how to number the upper sections in Arthur Ashe stadium so that people aren’t always confused and always sitting in the wrong area?
  • Why is security more interested in making sure attendees don’t wave national flags than breaking up the crazy fight that broke out during the night match?  For a city under the constant threat of a terrorist attack, seems like security would be a little more alert.
  • Would the US Open consider making people pass an etiquette test before they can attend?  Include things like don’t move during a match.
  • How about instituting mandatory checking of electronic equipment before a match—like at US courthouses?  I’m tired of hearing the person behind me answering their mobile, “Oh no, it’s fine…I’m just at a tennis match.”  Here’s the thing, it’s not okay.
  • What’s up with the vortex of energy in Flushing that my iPhone is sucked of every bit of juice within minutes?  Let’s get a charging station sponsor.
  • Whose idea was it to start serving red Grey Goose cocktails in plastic martini glasses?  That’s never a good thing to carry around in a crowd situation.

Maybe one day Hannah will have me on her show and I can ask her my penetrating questions.  But only if I can sit next to Venus.  A double date with my two ladies.  That would be a US Open to remember.

Viewer Programming Note: Hannah co-produced the documentary Unmatched about the phenomenal rivalry and friendship between Martina Navratilova and Chris Everett.  It premieres Tuesday Sept 14 at 8pm on ESPN.

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