The U.S. Open (for tennis) is starting this week—well if it starts on time…this crazy storm Irene has caused the USTA to cancel some of the first round matches—got me thinking about my all time favorite player Andre Agassi. I loved Andre Agassi. I still do—your favorite’s your favorite your favorite no matter what. His Nike posters covered my walls during high school.
When Dad went to go visit his girlfriend (who eventually became my step monster; for the record, thank goodness she’s my now ex-step monster) in New York and go to the U.S. Open I felt pangs beyond jealousy. But Dad did bring me back an Agassi t-shirt; the black one from Nike with a full portrait of Andre’s face’s silk-screened onto the back of the shirt’s fabric. It didn’t show his shorts, but that was when Andre wore those black (and at one unfortunate time, those acid wash denim looking shorts) shorts with hot pink bike shorts underneath. I for one found that look hot. Very hot. And I adored his mullet as well. Who didn’t back then?
My crush on Andre wasn’t fleeting. It lasted. In fact it lasted all throughout high school and into college. And let’s not get started on his amazing comeback after he divorced Brooke Shields. But I digress. One person thought my crush on Andre should end and he straight up told me so in one of his mailers he sent to my college dorm room.
Dad sent me letters all the time when I attended college. They started as normal business envelops with his black-felt tip printed block letters on the front and then morphed into these huge Priority U.S. Mail mailers full of newspaper articles and fashion clippings from the New York Times Style section.
In one particular mailer, Dad sent me a doozy during the 1994-1995 school year. One that caused me to pause, reflect, and I’ll admit shed some tears. Dad sent me an article on Andre Agassi with photos. Andre had shaved his head, gained weight and had lost his top spot in the rankings. Dad didn’t send a dear daughter letter about how my idol was changing his look and trying to revamp his career with a new fitness regime. Instead he opted not to send a letter at all and scribbled in his ALL CAPS writing the following (I remember Dad’s words verbatim—they were too mean to forget) under one of Andre’s not-so-flattering pictures: “SOME TIMES YOUR HEROS BECOME FAT AND BALD. SOME TIMES IT’S TIME FOR NEW HEROS.”
I was aghast. Who writes that? And who writes that about my beloved Andre? Dad thought he was doing me a favor telling me to quit my hero and find a new one. I didn’t listen and stayed on the Agassi bandwagon. It took Andre some time regain his footing and pull out amazing, now historic tennis wins. But he did it. And of course when he did, Dad cheered him on with the rest of us. Dad did always like a good underdog, triumph-in-life-after-everyone’s-forgotten-about-you-story; he just got a little scissor-happy with the information and articles he felt needed to be shared with his daughter.