Monday, December 7, 2009
I bought this as a Christmas gift from my brother, read the first chapter, and proceeded to spend the remainder of the weekend under the covers with Andre Agassi. The time flew by, as you can imagine.
I have long been an Agassi fan but started watching closer at the very end of his career. I was fortunate enough to be at the US Open when he played the last match of his career then wept as he addressed his fans:
"Over the last twenty-one years, I have found loyalty. You have pulled for me on the court and also in life. I've found inspiration. You have willed me to succeed, sometimes even in my lowest moments. And I've found generosity. You have given me your shoulders to stand on, to reach for my dreams, dreams I could have never reached without you. Over the last twenty-one years, I have found you. And I will take you and the memory of you with me for the rest of my life. Thank you."
Along with everyone else in the crowd, I cried with him.
What was always most compelling about this man, in my opinion, was all that could be seen in his eyes when the cameras would zoom in as he awaited the opponent's serve. Joy and pain, fear and confidence, hope and hopelessness, fatigue and neverending endurance. Layers upon layers of contradiction in those beautiful eyes.
Of many surprising things, the book reveals that he's hated tennis all his life. He hates it, but he plays for his life every time he steps on the court. I am drawn to the stories of tremendously successful people, the process in which they work out their own fate is fascinating to me. There's a lot of tennis, play by play, in this book, but it is balanced with incredible stories from his life. What happens on and off the court is weaved together and tells the story of a passionate man on a path to self-actualization.
I hope you get a chance to read it.