Monday, December 7, 2009

Open


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.

11 comments:

in another lifetime said...

now that I've closed this cover I can finish the Bookseller of Kabul, which I am very much enjoying Nadia!

Beverly Ash Gilbert said...

Sounds like a fascinating book about a fascinating person. Amazing that he hates tennis?!!

rakeback said...

I know a lot of people criticized Agassi for coming forward with his use of illegal drugs, but I find him to be a very genuine person that is admitting mistakes and trying to move on with his life. He has devoted a lot of his time to helping kids, and I hope he continues his good work!

nadia said...

beautifully written post. i have been in love with tennis for as long i can remember after my crush on boris becker had fizzled(no i htink i am still in love) i became addicted to watching agassi, his eyes like you stated had a way of making me ache. i must admit that i had not wanted to hear the story, that for once i wanted to believe all was well and that he was one of those people after a few small stumbles was having a good life- but you sheila have drawn me in along side to those eyes that once again make my heart ache.

in another lifetime said...

nadia, the book describes some of his huge matches against Boris Becker too:) Andre definitely shares his darkest moments in the book, but there is a lot of joy in there too, especially pertaining to his relationships with those closest to him: his trainer, his coach, and Steffi Graff, among others. I think you could also relate to the concept of hating something but being forced into competing in it, which is a huge theme, especially at the beginning of the book.

Joie Moring said...

Sheila....thanks for visiting my blog!
About Cedar m' boy...you're right...he ONLY climbs on my lap if grandma's blanket is there...his and my favorite.
btw - love your take an agassi...he played with such passion - and now we know, anger was the base of it. We cried too at his heartfelt thanks to the fans...how cool to actually be there!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Beautiful..I always loved him too..Seems like such a gentleman..

This post and his words gave me chills....

so beautifully written....

I enjoyed very moment of it....

I'll have to get the book....

Thank you for sharing this...

I'll check back later on...

Kary
xx

kendalee said...

Those beautiful eyes do tell a story. One that feels like it would be compelling. Sounds like a good read... on the list it goes. Thank you!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

thanks for the kind words for Buddy..the vet just called and all his blood work looks good...I think he is going to be o.k.

wow..was i ever worried....

your comment means the world to me...

fondly,
kary and Buddy
xxx

The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street said...

"He hates it, but he plays for his life every time he steps on..."

Oh how we all are similiary situated....

Chessa! said...

I was shocked, along with everyone else I'm sure, when I learned about the book and the revelations. he's an extraordinary person and his story is so fascinating...