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The Wimbledon Fortnight – Day Five: The Queue

If you don't have tickets for Wimbledon, you have to show up early and join the Queue. So we did.

“I join the queue/We move up nicely.” Do you know this little poem by Roger McGough? There is this saying about how the British love queueing more than anything else. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Wimbledon, that quintessentially British tournament, is the only major sports event for which you can still show up, wait in line, and get tickets – if only you’re patient enough. Needless to say, we were. Read on for queue-adventures!

After talking about it for years, we (my tennis-obsessed mother and completely normal me) decided it was high time we actually followed through on our plans. We would go to Wimbledon, we would go there during the tournament, and we would go there this year. We had booked everything: our flight, our accommodation, and, well, that’s it. We didn’t have tickets for Wimbledon yet. But we knew how to get them: we’d Queue. It’s easy: all you have to do is show up early, and you’ll get in. And by early, I mean, yes, really early.

Since the UK is obsessed with politeness and waiting in line, I should not have been so surprised that the Wimbledon Queue was organised to a T. In fact, I still look back on it as one of the most perfectly organised events ever – and this wasn’t even the event yet! Here’s what we were given upon arrival, at about six in the morning (like I said: really early!):

Can you imagine this? There were stewards everywhere, telling us what to do, and which line to join. They handed out a booklet called “A Guide to Queueing”, gave us a card with a number on it, and told us where to stand. Since we had to wait for quite a bit – after all, there were over 7500 people who had arrived before us – I decided to read through the entire Guide, so I knew how to behave (it’s not that hard, to be honest). I also read an entire novel, finished a puzzle book with my mum, and took a good look at all the other people around us. That last bit was especially interesting, by the way. But most importantly, we slowly worked our way through the food and drinks we had taken with us.

You should know that the Brits love their alcohol. A lot. And they start early. Some of the people over there were already downing bottles of vodka before they had moved a single foot inside the Queue. When we first saw it happening, at around half past six, we looked at each other and decided we’d never do that. Approximately an hour later, we opened our first bottle of wine. Mind you, we’d already been awake for hours! It was hot! Everyone was doing it! We were bored! We were having fun! We were so excited because in a couple of hours (no idea how long it would be) we’d be at Wimbledon! We had to celebrate!

Needless to say, helped out by the lovely weather even that early in the morning, we were quite the merry bunch. We talked to some people, had some entertainment along the way, were given some refreshments, ate a bit, called our loved ones back home to tell them everything was going ok and no, we were not inside yet, nope, still not even close, no, we didn’t mind, yes, really, we were having fun, and oh could they really tell we’d had a drink, and continued our journey, ever so slowly.

It was a long one, but it was so worth it. In fact, I would recommend the Queue to every Wimbledon lover out there – it’s all part of it, right? We knew what would be at the end of it, and finally, at about noon, we had our first view of the Gates.

We joined the Queue. We moved up nicely.

Would you ever Queue? Which event would you consider waiting in line for? Do let me know in the comments! Also, don’t forget to follow me if you want to stay updated!

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