January 21, 2010

Agassi bio a must-read for teens

For those who aren't into the Olympics, there's also tennis (and other sports, but tennis is my favourite). The Australian Open tennis tournament is currently underway in Melbourne. Andre Agassi became very well-known Down Under, winning the tournament four times.

What surprised me about Open was not Agassi's hair, or his drug use, but his hatred of tennis. However, when you realize that he was forced into tennis from a very young age, forced to confront a frightful ball machine every day, with his father's shouts - Hit harder! Hit earlier! Vork your wolleys! (Work your volleys) - ringing in his ears, you begin to understand. 

Andre was never given a choice. He was sent away to become a Number One tennis pro, whether he liked it or not. Confused by his rebellious actions, misunderstood by the press, trying to meet other people's expectations, he struggled with depression and anger. It is only when he chose to play, inspired by his realization that he could help others, that he learned to finally enjoy tennis. He was also fortunate in choosing the right friends to support him on his journey. It's a good message for every teen trying to make his or her way.

Agassi's story also has its lighter moments. My favourite is the first meeting between Mike Agassi (Andre's father) and Peter Graf (Steffi's father). Everything goes well until Graf dares to tell Andre, This is the shot you should have had. Infuriated, Mike Agassi retorts, Well, this is the shot Stefanie should have had! A battle for one-upmanship ensues and a fistfight is narrowly averted. Hilarious.

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