The Baby Daddy and I watched the Agassi-Baghdatis US Open tennis match the other night, wherein I could not hide my fervent hope that Andre would represent for us geezers by winning the match and moving on to compete with a 20-something player in the next round. I felt like I was back in high school, back when I loooooved Andre Agassi for far different reasons. I loved his ratty hair, his flourescent outfits, his partiality for small "Rebel" cameras, and his general young and brash style, backed up by fantastic talent. I spent no small amount of time on the court as captain of my high school tennis team trying in vain to replicate his awesome backhand, never realizing that I lacked his a)talent, b)talent, and c)talent.
Never mind. He was, as a preceding generation might say, a tall glass of water in what was the arid desert land of men's tennis at the time, as far as my generation was concerned. I remember laughing at the racket (racquet?) my mom had from her childhood, specifically insulting it by calling it some kind of "Bjorn Borg/Ken Rosewall wooden relic." Nothing so "dated" as that for this girl. No no. It was all graphite with fluorescent handle tape for me, as I quested to become the female Agassi of my small town.
Obviously, that didn't happen. But what did happen was that Andre grew up, got a life, got married, had kids, went bald, got a bad back, and still competes with the youngsters. This US Open will be his final tournament, and much like people cheered on Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova as their retirements approached, I want Andre to go out on a high note. A high note that recognizes all the young people he brought to the game, all the inspiration he gave to many of us as high schoolers that we could be good tennis players as well as (albeit, cocky and annoying) individuals, and the fact that he has created a full life for himself outside the game that focuses on philanthropy and giving back.
Mostly, though, I hope he wins because we geezers need something to feel happy about, now that high schoolers are laughing at my non-titanium Donnay circa 1989 excuse-for-a-racket and seeming incredulous that the one thing Andre Agassi was ever known for was his hair.
In the end, Agassi did win the match, during which John McEnroe delivered the absolute best summation of life (and perhaps this post), when Baghdatis unbelievably ran down and successfully returned a ball in a way that Agassi would have done 15 years ago: "And that, folks, is why it's great to be 21."