The first time I saw Serena Williams play, I cried. It was 2009 and I was in NYC for a trademark and copyright seminar. Bored out of my mind during one of the sessions, I decided on a whim to see if I could get a last-minute ticket to the U.S. Open. The heavens shone down upon me, and I scored a loge seat for the night matches in Arthur Ashe for like $100. I hopped on the 7 Subway to Queens, found my seat, they dimmed the lights, and, as the Black Eyed Peas’ newly released single “I Have a Feeling” blared over the sound system and the spotlights chased each other around the arena, Serena took the court. The crowd went wild, and I sobbed like a 5-year-old meeting Elsa on a unicorn made of candy. That song still makes me tear up every time I hear it.
That was the same year that Serena threatened a line judge with physical harm, which I wasn’t cool with. But I soon forgave and forgot, because, in the end, she always gives more than she takes, to both the sport and the world at large. I haven’t missed a U.S. Open since. This past Labor Day weekend, I hovered behind the windscreen of the practice court as she sat just feet away on a bench, laughing with her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, during a water break. I figured that was the closest we would ever be, and I was fine with that.
Then I got an invite to the VIP launch event Saturday night for her Great Collection at Neighborhood Goods, in Legacy West. Yes, that’s right: the GOAT has gone beyond 23 Grand Slam wins and a Nike catsuit controversy and the Beats “Queen of Queens” video endorsement and marrying that Reddit guy and motherhood posts about teething and being the newest board member of Survey Monkey and showing up to gal pal Megan Markle’s wedding in Valentino trainers to personally stock and style the shelves of a small pop-up shop in Matt Alexander and Mark Masinter’s new take on a department store.
And so, of course, I went.Read More