Sunday, July 02, 2006

End of an Era. Thanks Andre Agassi.

For years when I was younger, my parents had a trailer at Sunsetview Campground in Monson, MA. They actually had two trailers there over the years. They bought the first from my grandparents and then bought a better one later on.

I spent so much time there in the summer that anytime I am outside in the summer and reminiscing about Massachusetts, I can't help but think of that place. I had my first kiss there, I hit my first homerun there, I played guitar on stage there for the the first time. I have so many stories I could tell, there are so many memories that I keep, so many people that I miss. Once I thought I would never forget the names, but so many of them have become just concepts now, even their faces are lost to me.

One of the things I did do every summer though was get up and watch Wimbledon. It became a tradition for me to lay on the couch during the morning all of the weekend of Independence Day and watch the semi-finals and finals of that great tournament.

Now, I'm not a huge tennis fan, but the allure of Wimbledon is not easily withstood. Of course, it doesn't hurt that in the beginning of this tradition I was watching players like Borg, Connors and a young man named John McEnroe compete against one another in epic matches. Even today replays of those matches are gripping.

I was reminded of those days earlier this week when I saw that Andre Aggasi had decided to retire and that this week would mark his last appearance at Wimbledon. He had finally succumbed to a nagging back injury, and in fact, today he was knocked out of the tourney for the very last time.

As I heard the news I sat and thought about those days when all I had to do was get up and watch tennis before I went and played softball. They seem so very far away now. With the retirement of Agassi, I suppose they are even further.

Still, for a few moments this week I was able to remember what it was like to lie there and watch tennis as my mother and father cooked breakfast and got the camp ready for the coming day. I can touch the security of my family which is gone now forever. I can smile smiles back at smiles I saw so long ago. And I can say a thank you to a man I watched upon that stage so many years ago.

Andre Agassi came onto the stage a brash long haired ball of fire. I didn't even like him that much at first honestly. Over the years though I couldn't help but respect the passion with which he played the game, and admire the skill and poise he displayed so many times.

Today's players seem so very vanilla to me, but Andre came along at a time when the shadows of Connors and McEnroe still dominated the American tennis world. He took over right where they left off, and I don't know that another American player will ever capture the majesty those men had.

Thank you Andre, for all those mornings.

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