Failure to Zag
August 29, 2006
This is what happens when a person starts watching Andre Agassi–36-year-old, back-achy, tired, about-to-retire, sentimental-favorite, oddly hairless Andre Agassi–in the opening round of the U. S. Open tennis tournament.
I forgot to zag. I forgot to suck it up and watch the pattern, because I was so transfixed at the match that was taking place. For the record, I am not what you would call a sporty person. I don’t sport. We don’t have bins of baseball bats and shin guards all over the place. It’s just not in the cards for this pale group. But in the past year, ten-year-old David has taken up tennis, and as a result I too have been taking tennis. Granted, I’m not actually holding a racquet or indeed even standing up–OK, I’m knitting–but I’m right there, every time, listening intently as Coach Lise explains the backhand. I am often amazed at how she is transforming David into a tennis player. I can’t really believe how good she is.
Thanks to her expert instruction, I’m getting to be a very fine player. In my rich imagination, of course. Why would I mess up this lovely fantasy by actually playing tennis? I’m getting two hours of uninterrupted knitting a week out of this sport. And watching a three-and-a-half hour match in the comfort of my home? I may finish the shawl tomorrow.
Anyway, the match last night lasted three and a half hours, way into the night, and even Hubbo got into it. At one point Agassi was in a big hole, but he somehow dug himself out. It turns out he could tell that his racquet was strung a pound too loose, so he got a tighter racquet and turned the match around. His victory at, like, four in the morning was sweet. Inarticulate, but sweet: “I want to be here real bad for the whole two weeks. Six more!”
Can you imagine being good enough at tennis that your string tension matters? My rich imagination can’t quite get there.