WEEKLY HUM ( 09-04-06 )


The HumDrum award for letter of the week goes to Jon Margolis of Barton for his response to a grossly misleading letter re: Israel by a one Kristin Sweeney of Colchester. Margolis logically and laboriously disputes Sweeney's assertions that Israel is THE problem and lands a roundhouse blow at the end of the letter, wondering aloud if Ms. Sweeney might want Israel 'expunged.' The letter appears in the 8/30 issue of Seven Days.


On Monday, the damn light at the Essex Junction Five Corners took so long to change, I left the car idling and walked over to the fair, 'cuz I was starving to death! I wolfed down a corndog, a large order of onion rings, three cheeseburgers from the Lion's Club booth, two fried dough(s) covered with cinnamon sugar, a pint of fries from Al's, a maple creemee and a partridge in a pear tree! By the time I waddled back to the intersection, the light was about ready to change. I knew that because I could hear the walk signal, which meant my lane was next up. I put the rig in drive just as I saw green. It was perfect!



Well, not exactly. But try guessing where The Punisher started his pro career. You're right or wrong! It was Stratton, in the summer of '86, and your beloved Vermont Hum correspondent was in seat 8, right next to the beer tent, which sold beers, by the way, for a buck and a quarter. Agassi was adorned like a Brazilian samba dancer, with feathery two-color hair and flowing ribbons and chains. But, boy, could he slap that ball. He was one of the new members of the power set, kids who were taught to hit the crap out of the ball and take names later. AA made a good showing at Stratton, but eventually fell to a guy named McEnroe.
I enjoyed following Agassi's career for a number of reasons.

First, he was so human. At times he looked alternately powerful and vulnerable; other times he exuded such savvy and a passion for the game that he locked people in with his intensity. We saw him cry, or laugh, or be as gracious and gentlemanly as a player, or person could be. We saw him nervous, a nervousness so acute you almost wanted to jump through the screen and give him a hand. But we also saw confidence, a confidence so unwavering you knew 'Andre would pull it out.'

Second, his work ethic in his later years was unparalled. Whether he was running hills or benching a weight most of us could not, he took training to a higher level, and his endurance on the court was a thing to marvel at. His surgically precise groundstrokes were borne of sacrifice, hours and hours and years and years of practice. His behavior on the court was exemplary; he worked fast and hard and complained infrequently, going about his business in a workmanlike manner. Yeah, that's it. A workmanlike manner. That's what a lot of fans liked about him, the way he would just keep going, no matter what.

Third, as a wise old woman once remarked, " He seems nice and he has kind eyes." Agassi hasn't mentioned it a lot, but he's given countless hours of his time to worthy causes, and donated millions to help the less fortunate. You get the feeling, even though he's rich and famous, that he gets it. He gets it.

Farewell, Andre. You don't know who the hell I am, but I've spent many years arranging my schedule around your schedule, just to watch your sterling brand of tennis, which I referred to as artistry on the court. I've grown as you've grown, and remember certain years as being better years, collectively, through your successes and my successes. We've had down years, but have fought through them, and learned from them.
So move on, old boy ( an old boy in the tennis world, anyway ) and give us a shout if you're ever back at Stratton.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why can't I find old letters to the editor on seven days?

9:09 AM  
Blogger Haik Bedrosian said...

Agassi Rules!!!

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Steve Plantier said...

Agassi was certainly an excellent player, but Sampras took the whole thing to another level. I'm pretty sure sampras won the bulk of their head to head matches.

9:24 AM  

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