Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night can keep an avid tennis fan from watching the Washington Star International tennis championships. Well, scratch the sleet. Change it to suppressing heat, or blinding sunlight.
Crowded under a green-and-white-striped canopy to avoid the second of yesterday's downpours, Star spectators seemed to be taking everything in stride.
"This is the Star tournament. This is what we expected," said Susan Benson of Charlottesville.
"This always happens in Washington," said Charles Roistacher, who ran to the top of the covered grandstand area for shelter with his son, Lee. "As long as there's beer and food, we're all right."
Not even the withdrawal of such players as Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors upset them much.
"We didn't come to see him (Ashe)," said Lois Hartman from Staunton, Va. "That doesn't bother me too much."
Roistacher wasn't upset with Ashe's withdrawal, but Connors' was another matter. "I don't think Ashe would have gotten very far anyway," he said."he hasn't played since January. But the fact that Connors pulled out was a disappointment. He was a big crowd pleaser."
But this crowd is after tennis and isn't easily dismayed.
"I brought my big hat, my folding umbrella and a handkerchief to wipe the sweat off my face," said Mary Robinson of Washington. "I've got three apples and a little change for soda, so I'm all set."
"First we made sure that we wore the right kind of clothes," said George McConville of Rockville. "We brought along extra food and drinks. We eat a lot out here. And where we could go if it rained. But we knew it would turn off as quick as it turned on. We'll stay however long it takes to get to the next match."
Veteran tennis watchers suggest that fans bring suntan oil and beverages.
In addition, hats and sun visors are available at souvenir stands to help ward off the heat.
And if all this doesn't help, a first aid trailer is located behind the main grandstand. Paramedics and nurses are available throughout the day and night.
Of the 5,000 spectators the first three days of the tournament, only nine were treared for heat exhaustion. But emergency medical technicians Greg Carey and Wayne Hummer had a few suggestions to make a trip to the Star more comfortable.
"They should dress lightly" Hummers said, "and make sure they eat before they came out."
Carey added that the persons attending the Star should drink plenty of liquids and if they bring jugs or thermoses, they should add a little malt to the beverage. "And if they feel ld add a little malt to the beverage. "And if they feel dizzy, they should come to us immediately."