The Summer Olympics are starting this weekend, though I must confess I’m more of a winter sports gal. So I’m not sure how much attention I’ll end up paying to the spectacle—still, if anyone is looking for a trophy to hand out, I think I know where there’s a really big one…
Today the Tailor and I had the chance to go to a Mariners game with friends, and spend the afternoon in the cushy comfort of one of the box suites. In terms of watching the game, it was the best seat in the house. We were in the front row of the box, with a breathtaking view of home plate—we could practically call the strikes. But when it came to sketching the game, it made me downright twitchy. It seemed like every time I took my eyes off the game to look down at my drawing, a batter would whack a foul ball in our direction. At least four or five came within spitting distance, and there was one that almost startled me into dropping my sketchbook over the balcony railing. By the fifth inning, though, I had the routine down: scribble quickly between pitches, and every time you hear a crack, look up and find that ball fast!
We have a tradition of spending the Fourth with some friends who live down the street from us. We bring the old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream crock and the croquet set—they fire up the grill.
The best part, though, is watching the fireworks over the bay.
To everybody reading in the United States, have a happy and safe Fourth of July!
Since I was thinking about examples of American ruins at the time, my plan was to head across town to sketch the remains of the old sand and gravel quarry at the site of the Chambers Bay golf course. But when I got there, the trail that leads to the ruins was closed while they set up for this year’s U.S. Open golf tournament.
I’m no expert on golf, but it’s been fun to learn more about the Chambers Bay course in the run-up to the event. The course is both public and brand new—just eight years old—which makes it an unusual choice for the U.S. Open. But it’s an absolute marvel of design and difficulty. Chambers Bay is many times larger than a traditional Scottish links-style course; the combination of sheer size, rugged terrain, tricky fescue-and-heather landscaping, and the strong winds that sweep through the Tacoma Narrows make this course one of the most challenging and unpredictable in the entire world. Add to that the stunning panoramic views of Puget Sound and the islands, and it’s no wonder the USGA thought the world would want to feast their eyes on Chambers Bay.
The tournament opens on Monday, and thanks to the expensive tickets and the maelstrom of golfers, spectators, media and security descending upon my town, the likes of me won’t be able to get anywhere near Chambers Bay. But that’s okay—I got to have a front row seat for the transformation. When it’s all over, there won’t be any ruins left behind to commemorate the event—there won’t be any trace left at all. All the more reason to have the evidence recorded in my sketchbook.
In my travels over the years, I’ve stumbled upon (and sketched) a lot of games and sporting events in public places. Pick-up hockey games in Minnesota. Bocce tournaments in Italy. Hula hoop contests in New York. Surfing in California. Boat races in Seattle. Ice skaters in Boston. Golf in Nova Scotia. Even a game of street chess in Montreal. So I guess there really isn’t anything so unusual about lawn bowling (other than the fact that it’s not a popular sport where I come from), but these ladies just stopped me in my tracks that day. I can’t make heads or tails of the sport itself, so I think it must have been the setting that caught my eye. There was just something so appealing about a bunch of gals dressed in white, a perfectly manicured green lawn, and hot pink roses bordering the pitch. It was like the scene composed itself for me—or a snippet of some story from a bygone area, already written down for me to find.