I don’t usually write about sports here, but what the heck, I’m a crazy sports fan and I simply can’t pass up shining a bright light on Andre Agassi’s last moments at the U.S. Open this weekend. He lost his match, but in the end he won – big time. He found something we all need. If you haven’t been following the U.S. Open, this was to be Agassi’s last. Throughout weekend TV coverage of the tournament, which by the way takes place in Queens, N.Y. just across from Shea Stadium (the home of my red hot N.Y. Mets!), it was “All Agassi All-the-Time.” Then, after he lost to Benjamin Becker, he took to center court to say these few words to those in Arthur Ashe Stadium and viewers at home:
But what’s changed about Agassi is… well, Agassi. He has changed – through adversity, in suffering injuries, when his world ranking plummeted, as new young players emerged, when cortisone shots were required for his ailing back so he could simply stand up and make his way back on court.
I found two things compelling about Agassi’s comments this weekend. First, was his choice of words. Anyone who has read this blog knows I love language. So, I urge you to take a moment and go back and read once more his post-match comments. Pull out for yourself key words.
What you’ll find are sentiments we too often fail to hear in public spaces these days, and perhaps that we ourselves too often fail to say and practice either in public or private.
Agassi made his way in tennis not only by blazing his own trail but, as he put it, by what “I have found.” What he discovered – what he now treasures and shared with the rest of us – he found in others first, and only then in himself.
I found his comments so moving because just at the moment when he was to talk about himself… when we expected him to talk about himself, well, he turned to the crowd and talked about them – what he had learned from them, gained from them, indeed, what he found in them.