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Eight crazy traditions from Wimbledon's Centre Court

Illustration by Brandon Loving

You Cannot Be Serious is ESPN The Magazine's satire page. Because, you know, this whole sports thing? It's meant to be fun!

Who doesn't love the general Anglophilia that is Wimbledon? We present eight Centre Court traditions from a nation that still spells "center" like that.


Ball Boys and Ball Girls

The grueling training for ball boys and girls culminates with a double ultra-triathlon. Only those who complete the 4.8-mile swim, 224-mile bike and 52.4-mile run suit up for the tournament, an honor made more difficult by the chronic shin splints they now suffer from.

Advertisement-Free Courts

A rarity among modern sports venues, Wimbledon refuses to display commercial ads, though the sound system does blast the Nationwide Insurance jingle on a loop for the entire tournament.

U.S. Army Paratrooper Team

To kick off each match, armed members of the Army Golden Knights parachute team land at Centre Court in a display of America's ability to project power to every corner of the sports world.

Royal Ultras

The raucous, drunk and at times violent die-hard Wimbledon fan group has a single qualification for membership: royal blood. A thick wall of riot glass, as well as armed security guards, protects the rest of the Wimbledon fans from the hyperaggressive Royal Ultras, a policy implemented in 1997 after a Queen Elizabeth-led melee resulted in 43 being sent to the hospital.

The Queue

To ensure fairness, all players hoping for spots in the tournament must patiently wait in line on the lawn in Wimbledon Park before each day. In 2018, Novak Djokovic reportedly camped out for six days to claim a spot in the final.

Strawberries and Cream

Wimbledon's iconic treat has been served in mini plastic Philadelphia Phillies helmets ever since a 10 million-count order was mistakenly shipped to the tournament in 2009.

Wearing White

Wimbledon's dress code requires all-white attire, though any player who forgets may use the unwashed outfit Andre Agassi left behind in 2000.

Singing "Eleanor Rigby"

This rendition is less of a Wimbledon tradition and more of a thing that all Britons reflexively do together at noon on weekdays.

* Get your rackets ready! Wimbledon begins on July 1 (6 a.m. ET, ESPN).