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Educating stuff: an active month

Andy Murray and Jez Green playing a spot of football tennis
by Ben Swann
Tuesday 5 February 2013

The third instalment of 'Educating stuff,' a new blog from Wimbledon's Education Department, reveals the department's desire to keep themselves active, with and without success. 

January is finally over.  I don’t know why January always feels so long, after all there has been plenty to keep us alert what with almost all of Britain closing for a snow day, but even with this beautiful mid-month distraction, January seems to walk with heavy feet.

However, this is Wimbledon, and no covering of snow will stop our sport, so part of January was spent seeing how the Australian Open went.  A lot has already been written about the first slam of the year but as this is ‘Educating Stuff’ here are three things we learnt from watching the tennis.

  1. Never trust a pundit.  We said Serena and Murray to win, the results said, Azarenka and Djokovich won.
  2. Men of tennis are becoming more fashionable.  For years women have dominated the tennis fashion headlines from Lottie Dodd in her brother’s cap in 1887 to Venus and her own brand clothes, but perhaps things are slowly changing as Djokovich now wears Uniqlo on court and Berdych, who is also their brand ambassador, wears H&M.
  3. Tennis is tough.  There seemed to be an alarmingly high number of cringe inducing falls and injuries this year, the players will be almost head to toe in Kinesio tape if this continues.  Perhaps a shift back to the gentler days of the pre-open era is needed; maybe one year in four could be devoted to vintage, wooden racket, white ball tennis in order to give the poor players a much needed break from the relentless march of faster, harder tennis technology.

Snow, then Australian tennis, how much more entertainment does an education department need?  Well seeing as our toilets were out of action (see new year, new bog) we were still in an enforced shut down so in order to not sit idle and waste an opportunity for fun, an Education away day was decided upon.

We sit in a pretty niche sector of the market being an education department attached to a sporting museum so there is very little out there for us to compare with, but after much thought we decided upon a trip to Manchester (we tried to get tickets to Australia, but apparently the budget won’t stretch that far) and the almost brand new ‘National Football Museum’.  The whole team, Ngaire, Patrick and I worked to an itinerary that we thought was fool proof and would enable us to get to Manchester, take in all that the National football Museum could offer and return us safely to London, all in one day.  How foolish we were. 

To try and get ahead of the game, we decided to fly to Manchester, decadent though this may seem it was the best value option.  We immediately fell behind schedule with a flight delay.  No bother we thought, ‘tis but an hour to Manchester by air.  Upon arrival in Manchester like all others, we took a train to the city centre. The train was also delayed.  To speed things up we decided to spurn our first choice of walking from the station to the Museum and take instead, a tram.  The tram was delayed. We arrived at the museum with less than two hours before we had to check back into the airport for our return flight.  This was deeply annoying as the National Football Museum has a lot to offer and all of us left feeling that we wanted to see more.  To get back on schedule we caught a cab back to the airport prompting Patrick to enquire whether or not John Candy would also be joining us in the true spirit of ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’.

So what have we learnt from January then? Well, long though the month seems, don’t try to fit too much in, especially where transportation is concerned.

For more on tennis fashion then book one of our ‘Tennis & Technology’ or ‘Victorians, Sport & Wimbledon’ workshops.

For more on tennis injuries then book one of our Nutrition & Fitness’ or ‘Keeping Healthy’ workshops.


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