Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Agassi's Road to Redemption

I'm by no stretch of anyone's imagination a fan of sports but I like stories of personal redemption and it looks like Andre Agassi's autobiography, "Open," promises to tell a good story about his:
Whether he was the bratty, scrawny teenager from Las Vegas bursting onto the tennis scene in 1986 or the bald, buff 36-year-old elder statesman who received an emotional eight-minute standing ovation at the U.S. Open when he retired in 2006, Andre Agassi always seemed as beset by inner demons as by his opponents across the net. Why?

We begin to glean the answer with the publication of "Open," a memoir that describes his personal odyssey with brio and unvarnished candor. Looming throughout Mr. Agassi's fascinating life has been the shadow of his overbearing father, a former Olympic boxer from Iran. Violent and foulmouthed, he single-mindedly groomed his son for tennis greatness even before he could walk. The results were phenomenal: At age four, Andre had already hit with Jimmy Connors; at age seven, he hustled the former football champion Jim Brown out of $500 in a set; at age 16, he turned pro. Though his work ethic was questionable, his blistering forehand helped redefine the game—indeed, the transformation of tennis from serve-and -volley play to today's big groundstrokes was in many ways Mr. Agassi's doing.

Agassi's story has a happy ending and serves to remind us that redemption always available to us. All we have to do is ask and then take action.

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