Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Roger Roger Everywhere...

since i'm still in the tennis state of mind, i thought i'd put this here, an event that transpired way back end of autumn last year...
Launching of Roger’s Fan Club in Alschwil, November 2005.

I’ve seen Roger Federer in the flesh a few times in the past, long before he won his first Grand Slam, a few times in Gstaad, at the Swiss Indoors in Basel (even when he couldn’t play due to injury), and once he even came here to town for an exhibition match with some local athletes. He had won his first Wimbledon title that summer. The Filipina in me always makes me very excited and talkative, like you want to say so many things to him but your 30 seconds is over, you know?

So I had the great pleasure of seeing him again in Basel in the beginning of November last year for the launching of his official fan club in Switzerland. It was an occasion where there was no big fuss. I’ve lived in this country for so many years but I’m still amazed at how the Swiss could remain so calm and cool and casual on a day like this; had this affair transpired in the Philippines, the fans would go ballistic gaga. I said hello to a couple of women I knew whose friendships were started because of our mutual admiration for Roger. Then, punctual like a Swiss watch, in that small room at the clubhouse, the world’s best tennis player showed up looking very suave and cool in a brown corduroy jacket, dark shirt, and blue jeans. He reminded me of a student from an Ivy League school.

First, they had the presentation of the fan club to the media which was followed by interviews of Roger. Soon after, everyone moved outdoors and we could take pictures while he talked to the local press and TV, then later we could also have our pictures taken with him. He also signed some autographs (patiently) and I got 2 postcards signed ( I sent one to a Chinese fan in Shanghai) and his mom also handed out some white and red caps from his website. You betcha I got one of those, autographed, no less.
Roger felt at home in those familiar surroundings, the venue was the tennis club in Alschwil where he grew up and learned how to play tennis, there was also a football field right next to it. Roger apparently was also very talented in soccer but in the end, he chose tennis. The rest, as they say, is history. Anyway, how cool is that, standing right next to your tennis hero and chatting with him so casually while having your picture taken together and he was genuinely very nice! Bless him. Lucky me.
Two things worth mentioning here was when all of us ladies surrounded Roger for a group picture, I loudly exclaimed in English, “How come Roger has only women fans?” There was laughter and Roger said, “That’s how I prefer it”. More laughter.
I also had a brief chat with his mother in the ladies room and I told her that Roger inspires me to play better tennis. She said he motivates everyone. Mrs. Federer radiates an inner strength when you come in contact with her, something you see in Roger. And she is a nice, down-to-earth woman. She must be so proud of her son!

Considering Roger’s hectic schedule, I was more than happy to be there to see him again in the flesh. Driving back home was a pleasant experience, the autumn colors in the afternoon sun looked even more intense, the Swiss landscape was beautiful to behold.
A song was playing in my head.


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