Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tennis a welcome distraction

Having endured the first six days of fall camp where from dawn to dusk their lives involve football, football and more football, the members of the Yale football team were thrilled to have a chance to sit in Stadium Court at the Connecticut Tennis Center on Wednesday night to cheer on Caroline Wozniacki.

"It is awesome," said senior fullback Shane Bannon, among the more enthusiastic of Wozniacki's supports. "We have been in the grind, we are in the middle of camp right now. From 7 o'clock in the morning to 10 at night, there is nothing but football with meetings and this is really the first real break we had as a team. It is really awesome to do something different and it was great to come watch her play."

It took some schedule shifting to make Wednesday night's appearance happen as the team had originally planned to come over on Tuesday which is when Wozniacki was supposed to play. But with her needed to stay in Montreal when rain postponed the semifinals and finals to Monday, her match was shifted to Wednesday night.

After being told on Tuesday that a prior engagement would keep them from being at the tournament on Wednesday, I found out that the red tape had been lifted when I ran into Yale football coach Tom Williams' secretary Corky Kennedy as we were both headed into the doubles mstch featuring Yale rising sophomore Marc Powers and Hopkins School star Nolan Paige.

"She was gracious and kind to come over and talk to our guys (during a rain delay in the 2009 Pilot Pen) and as a result, our guys have followed her all year and they talk about her in the offices," Williams said. "It is a great connection.

"We felt like we have adopted her as a professional tennis player and hopefully she has adopted Yale as her university of choice."

Judging by her comments in the video I put together, I would say that is the case.

I thought it was interesting that there were three pockets of Yale players, two were in the second level of seats in the lower section of seats while about 20-30 were in the section closer to the court.

Williams claimed no responsibility in the seating assignments.

"That was not my decision, that was kind of social darwinism," Williams said with a laugh.

Bannon was among those in the prime seats and offered a further explanation.

"The true fans are down below," Bannon said. "We were all down (below) getting real rowdy, having a great time. The guys up top, they were kind of along for the ride. We actually had seats up top but we all moved down."

Bannon said there has been talk of heading to New York to see Wozniacki play in the U.S. Open. Whether that can be done in the middle of fall camp or when school starts, that remains to be seen.

Yale will be back in its all football, all the time mode as the afternoon practices continue. Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage which begins at 2 p.m. at Clint Frank Field next to Yale Field will give an indication of how the first week of camp has been proceeding and who is moving up the depth chart.

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