Andre Agassi

Thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed Agassi’s autobio on a lot of different levels. Here’s my blurb Double A didn’t ask for. “As riveting and provocative a parenting/psychology/media studies/sports studies case study as you’ll read for a long, long time.”

Got into one of those grooves where it was very hard to put down. I like tennis and could have been decent if I was quicker, had a better backhand, could get my first serve in, and had a second serve.

I followed it more closely when Agassi, Courier, Chang, and Sampras were kicking ass nearly every weekend. Now I get excited about Federer and Nadal a few times a year.

It was fascinating to “relive” the era from Agassi’s perspective and reflect on how easy it is to misinterpret things through media lenses. Agassi was greatly misunderstood by everyone outside his inner circle.

That realization was a reminder that people’s questionable actions often make sense when we truly understand the context of their lives. The media loved to rip Agassi for not always playing up to his potential and symbolizing style over substance, but his erratic play and behavior made sense in the context of his two decade long identity crisis. And his identity crisis made sense in the context of his dad’s and Nick Bollettieri’s oppressive parenting and coaching.

My daughter didn’t understand how he ended up being thoughtful and intelligent when he left school in the eighth grade which led to a nice talk about the difference between schooling and education.

People who are not tennis fans will still find it a worthwhile read, but they may end up skimming the 10% or so where Agassi does color commentary on his own most consequential matches.

In the end, Agassi was imminently likable which only added to the overall enjoyment. Here’s hoping Stefanie, his children and him live happily ever after.

Week that Was—12/21-12/27

12/21 M T W R F SA SU Total
S 2,000

16:31 1k


16:28 1k



C 16 14


R 6 6

mid 4-:29






S: Outdoors in Flo-rida. SCM. Busted a knuckle up pretty good during family relays. It was all worth it though because I smoked 17 during that 50 back/breast race segment. My sissy shared an interesting thought last week, “It’s not all about me.” Oh, I beg to differ. As I pulled away with 14 cheering wildly, it was all about me. Seventeen never should have said “YOUR doing breaststroke?” Although, fourteen and forty seven were victorious, everyone smoked me in the back/butter/breast.

C: W indoors, Su outdoors. Sunday’s ride was done at 10mph with my better half on a hybrid way too small for me. Our mission, find Derek Jeter’s new house. We were unsuccessful. I should have done the research beforehand. We actually saw it near the end of our ride from across the (Tampa) Bay. Once built it will be 30,000 square feet. Seems kinda silly for a single dude. Actually seems kinda silly for a polygamist with double digit children. Had a thought during the ride Lance. If I rode an Ironperson at that pace, I probably could tag on a marathon. 1:05 swim, 11:40 bike, 4:00 run, :14 transitions. Oh wait, they have a cut off after the bike, nevermind.

R: I was running T and the temp was in the high 60’s. Yes, I took my shirt off and yes runners going the opposite direction were shielding their eyes. Call me the Solar Eclipse. A cyclist passed me wearing arm and leg warmers. So nice to run in warm sunlight. Which brings us to Christmas eve service. The offertory? “In the Bleak Mid-Winter”. I’d like to trade mid-winters for just one more week to help the people of TB truly understand the meaning of “bleak.”

Avatar versus Invictus

Invictus because I’m not a sci fi guy. Friends were raving about the new Star Trek on a run recently. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through a whole episode. I’m definitely a non-fiction guy. That being said, I enjoyed Avatar, I just have a hard time giving into the notion of aliens. Of course the special effects were on a whole new level and even I followed the storyline. My take away, don’t mix business and pleasure.

I followed South Africa closely in the mid/late 80’s and really enjoyed Invictus because it mixed three of my interests, Africa, politics, and sports. I was left wondering how true to actual events it was. Afterwards, I did a little internet research and found an article from a British periodical that suggested not very. However, when I read that piece I had to chuckle. In my opinion, the journalist was quibbling with minutiae. It’s amazing Mandela, 91, has lived as long as he has, especially given conditions on Robben Island.

My suggestion, go crazy and see both.

What Decade is Drawing to a Close?

What will we call it? I propose the “double zeroes” or maybe that’s redundant and it will just be the “zeroes”, yeah, I prefer that. I suspect the next one will be referred to as the teens even though that’s not entirely accurate. And while I’m on the topic of dates, strangely, I was the only Avatar viewer in our foursome to pick up on the 2154 date on the videoblog screen. And don’t forget to train for the Victoria, BC marathon on 10/10/10.

Eastward Ho

Conventional wisdom suggests we should be planning for the year ahead writing down specific, measurable personal finance, family, health, intellectual, work, service, spiritual goals. Fools don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.

I’m just not feelin’ it.

Instead, I’m at a point in my life where positive processes hold more allure than specific, measurable goals. Rather than focus on tangible products, I want to tweak my already healthy daily routines that create positive momentum in my life.

If I remember to whom much is given much is required, spend an hour or two a day moving, save more than I spend, read and write regularly, pay attention to my wife and daughters, and do right by my friends, students, and co-workers, 2010 will turn out well.