Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

Failure to Zag

Dear Kay,
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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.
Love,
Ann

33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Ann – sorry about the failure to zag, but still, I am envious……you live in a non-sporty house???? No bins of baseball bats (balls, mitts, catcher’s gear, and an assortment of shoes, socks and other smelly stuff goes with that too). I live in a hyper-sporty house. Oldest son is into motorcycles – helmets, gloves, leather jackets, pants and clunky boots all over. Hubby and son #2 are baseball fanatics. Hubby plays senior baseball (no softball for him) and #2 son plays select ball – we usually have a mere 2 months of baseball-less months of the year between high school ball, select summer season, fall ball, and winter work outs. The little one, has not settled on one sport – he does soccer and baseball – but I expect him to settle on baseball as his primary in the next two years. Older brother says for a 9 year-old he has a wicked fastball and a nasty circle change (please do not ask me what that is). I put so many miles taking kids to and from practices and games, and now slinging beer in the Seattle Seahawks concession stands to fundraise for my son’s select baseball team (they want to go to a tournament in Las Vegas)that there are days I hardly see the house. Did I mention that we have weekend season tickets to the Mariners as well? The only real advantage…….I get a whole lot of knitting done!! And Seattle was the home of the original “Stitch and Pitch” event at a Mariner’s baseball game.

  2. The shaw is still beautiful, despite the missed zag! The color is gorgeous.

  3. TENSION matters. We’re knitters. We know these things….
    Our son is a Comp Soccer Player and Swimmer –
    I look at ALL sporting practices and events as KNITTING TIME. It is the BEST reason to have your kids in sports….everyone thinks it’s all about the kids?
    It’s ALL about Knitting Babee!

  4. I really love how your illustration shows the zag trailing off into WHEEE! GO ANDRE!

  5. Cost: 5:00 pm drives across town through an intersection guaranteed to be backed up; monthly check to piano teacher; mediating three children’s practice time squabbles…
    Benefit: uninterrupted knitting on piano teacher’s back porch. You do the math….

  6. “Can you imagine being good enough at tennis that your string tension matters?”
    I bet you can imagine it. String tension is to Andre as guage is to Ann. See?

  7. Seems tension matters where all string is concerned. I just try to imagine (in my wildest dreams mind you) being SO GOOD at knitting, one can write a book. Give yourself a break, your sharing “boo boos” makes it real for us fledglings.

  8. I read my formerly tennis playing (now watching) boyfriend your comment about the one-pound off racquet and his comment was that we know when we pick up a size three when we meant to get a four, don’t we(ahem)? When you use your equipment that much, you know what it should feel like and it matters that it doesn’t.
    Happy watching!

  9. I simply couldn’t stand watching after he went down a break in the second. It was breaking my heart and I wasn’t getting anywhere with my sock knitting. (I did however watch long enough to also remark on how hairy he was back during his frosted-mullet days…where did it all go??)
    Good for you for sticking it out..zag or no zag, the stole is looking gorgeous!

  10. The shawl looks great, although it sucks about the extra long zigging going on there.
    Andre Agassi rocks, although I’m with you. No actual sweating and grunting for me. I’m strictly a sideline observer type of gal.

  11. Sorry to hear about the failure to zag but it was for a good cause. Andre Rocks! I couldn’t stay up for the whole match but I was thrilled that he won. It would’ve been unbearably sad if he lost in the first round. (I’m not usually a sporty person either).

  12. You should seriously send that to Andre. Knitters for Agassi!!

  13. Oh, sorry about the non-zag! I agree that it was pretty enthralling last night. I opted for sock knitting (my lace will have to wait til tonight when there aren’t any distratctions)!

  14. I watched Andre too… though I switched to MASH when he started his downslide then switched back to watch him win! I coudln’t knit and keep track for that last set except for a M-D warshcloth in green variegated and white trim…LOL It’s perfect for tv watching when you’re actually watching the tv and not just listening.
    I have no children except for fur children, but I am so into baseball (go yankees!), and I watch tennis only for the US Open, and I watch some golf. I used to play tennis, before knee issues, and I do play golf… Maybe I should bring knitting to the golf course for those times I’m waiting on the tee!

  15. Ann, you are to be commended for your newfound devotion to tennis. I enjoy golf in the same way and never have to stand around waiting for someone to putt so I can get back to my knitting. May you never break a string! There were times last night during which I was willing Andre to zag a bit more, but he was at least smart enough to know when to say “enough already”. I’m worried about the little guy when he stops playing tennis and gets all arthritic. We must keep knitting! God forbid the same thing should happen to the lot of us!

  16. I live in a non-sporty house, too. Bike riding is about as sporty as it gets around here.
    Several years ago (like eight or so) I lucked into being able to go see Andre Agassi play Jim Courier in an exhibition match at the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI. All I knew about tennis was the bit I picked up in high school gym class. It was amazing! So exciting, watching that ball go back and forth! I’d go watch tennis anytime if given the chance. (It didn’t hurt that this was when Andre and Brooke Shields were together, so she was there, too. lol.)

  17. > … watch long enough to also remark on how hairy he was back during his frosted-mullet days…where did it all go??)
    With all the retrospective stuff, I agree– it is so strange to see Famous Mullet Andre next to Retiring Hairless Andre. Esp. since he had all that hair when he was in the gossip columns all the time.

  18. I hope you keep the zag as a monument to Andre. You could do an extra-long zig as a Martina memorial (retiring at 50!) to balance the zigzagzietgiest. Somehow frogging out a whole match seems wrong…

  19. I, too, live in a sporty home. Between my four children we have: field hockey, football, wrestling, basketball (girls and boys), lacrosse, golf and baseball. I have been a “sideline knitter” for years. The baseball games are the best. Because they last forever and (at the risk of offending someone) are kinda boring….the shawl is coming along great. Is taht the Blue Heron Yarn? Visit my blog–there is a beautiful picture of you and Kay!

  20. I, too, live in a sporty home. Between my four children we have: field hockey, football, wrestling, basketball (girls and boys), lacrosse, golf and baseball. I have been a “sideline knitter” for years. The baseball games are the best. Because they last forever and (at the risk of offending someone) are kinda boring….the shawl is coming along great. Is taht the Blue Heron Yarn? Visit my blog–there is a beautiful picture of you and Kay!

  21. Carol is right……seeing boo-boos by accomplished knitters gives me the confidence to try anything. I know that you and Kay make mistakes, and the Yarn Harlot makes mistakes, you all look at it philosophically, and with humor, and do it again. If accomplished ladies can mess up and forge on, I sure can. Besides Knitting has taught me patience. The only time I don’t have patience is when my 9 year old insists on having an in-depth conversation with me when I am in the middle of a lace knitting row!

  22. Andre (and his hair) was my first love at 11 years old, so I can completely understand your sentimental feelings for him. When he won Wimbledon, you’d have thought that I won. :-)

  23. Gosh Mary Heather, I couldn’t stand him when he was young and long haired and obnoxious, but really love watching him play now.
    Ann, the navajos or persians or someone always put a mistake in their work on purpose, no zig can be yours, it looks great.

  24. Wow, I feel for you. Taking out that much lace is painful beyond belief.

  25. one thing i can’t watch while i knit anything but a garter stitch washrag; is the marx brothers. too funny to look away from and too funny not to listen …
    chicko says; we hear there is a biga boom in florida so we come. we’re a couple of big booms too.

  26. …”oddly hairless”…
    He totally SHAVES his chest!! A friend of mine has take several close up, hight rez shots of Agassi at various tournaments and you can totally see the chest hair stubble!!!
    Ewwwww! Chest hair five oclock shadow!
    Betsy

  27. When my husband was ill earlier this year, I started knitting again to fill the hours in waiting rooms. Since my record of finishing large projects is so poor, I started making scarfs, and to make it more interesting, made a few lace scarfs since I had never tried lace before. My question: Do you have any tips on how to rip out lace? The yo’s left me totally baffeled – I never could recover.
    Now I’ve moved on to socks. So cool – socks that fit!
    I’m moved by the generosity of knitting bloggers.

  28. Oh yeah, baby, tension, whether too tight or too loose can be a dangerous thing.
    Kudos to Andre for knowing when to switch to a different tool. If only changing needles would improve my tight-ass (can I say that on a fambly blog) knitting!

  29. My elder daughter started learning tennis a while back and now the entire family (mum, dad and little sister) is learning with her too. So I’m not lucky to have the tennis knitting time but I tell myself I’ll have stronger arms to knit with :D).

  30. What about the fan bag?

  31. I’m with Melissa…if it were me, I think I’d leave the zag as a monument to an amazing man and an amazing tennis match. Just think, the memory of that night will be encoded in that yarn forever. I’d smile every time I wore it and looked at it.
    Besides, I’m so slow, I’d have to remind myself where the mistake was…I had a hard enough time seeing it after you pointed it out. hehe

  32. i can’t believe you kept knitting this stole while watching andre agassi’s match. i would have had a hard time knitting garter stitch while watching that match! too much excitement and drama. and i’m sure agassi is somehow my long lost brother (evn though i don’t have a brother) having grown-up watching him play tennis next to my mother who is absolutely SURE “her andre” is really HER andre, though she never gave birth to a boy. she is a great tennis player, a great tennis coach and a fierce watcher of tennis, particularly when “her andre” is whacking the ball. we’re gong to miss him when this tournament is over. better find something in garter stitch for tonight’s match!

  33. I have to tell you that I too totally goofed up a lace shawl while watching that match-Icarus in kidsilk. I actually started taking tennis with my daughter and sometimes i can’t sleep at night because I’m so busy hitting brilliant shots in my mind. Sometimes I hit them in reality, too, but usually not. Great game. Good for knitting, too.