Andre Agassi’s Farewell: American Sure Does Love a Good Man-cry

I watched Andre Agassi’s final match and I am not, by any means, what you would call a “tennis fan.” That is to say I don’t wear tight fitting, smallish (kind of see through?) shorts and my balls aren’t bouncy; well, they’re not that bouncy (wink). At best, I could be described as a slightly casual but not really tennis fan. Which translates: If Nadal and Federer are playing in a grandslam final, I’ll tune in for about twenty-five minutes (or until I get bored).

Now, with all that nonsense behind us, I did watch the end of Andre Agassi’s final match of all time, a loss to no-name Benjamin Becker at the third round of the U.S. Open. Before I get all over Andre’s ass, it’s worth mentioning that the aging American star played two stellar, hard fought matches in the week leading up to this swansong, both were 5 set matches and one was a thrilling upset of Margos Baghdatis. So, good job Andre (personally, I don’t think you should have ever cut your hair).

On a further side note, do you remember the old Agassi Nike sneakers? I was in fourth grade when these things were selling like hot cakes and for a while, maybe only a month or two, they were as popular as Michael Jordan’s. They were weird looking; they had bright swirling colors and, if I’m correct, a Velcro strap. I’m 81% sure that I owned a pair. I also can’t recall a tennis shoe EVER getting popular as those kicks (maybe K-Swiss was at one point? In the hood, perhaps?). This is all leading me to believe that, while Agassi lent his name to the footwear, perhaps they weren’t specifically marketed as “tennis shoes.” I think they were more like a cross trainer. Shit, that’s a whole other article.

ANYWAY, like I was saying, I was sort of watching Andre Agassi’s last match which was hard enough because it was the first day of college football and my Yankees were playing the twins (all at the same time). So I’m flipping between a god-awful college football game (Vanderbilt at Michigan, hey it’s football), some rookie pitcher floundering on the mound vs. the Twins (hey we’ve got a 37 game lead on Boston, it’s okay) and this (less than) thrilling tennis match.

Agassi is laboring. I mean, he is really struggling. In between points, he looks like he’s going to curl up and die at any moment. You could literally feel back pain just by looking at the guy. And this asshole Becker wasn’t helping things. He kept hitting drops shots that Agassi had zero chance of returning. It was funny too, because whenever he did this the whole crowd starting booing, loudly (only in New York).

In the end, it was Becker’s 130-140 MPH serve that did Agassi in. On match point, Andre just watched it fly by him. He didn’t he even try to return it. He knew it; the crowd knew itâÂ?¦his career was over.

And a fine career it was. Listen, I’m not into tennis enough to rattle off a bunch of stats and give my opinions on them, but here’s a few quick things to take into consideration: He won 8 grandslam titles and he was one of only 3 men to ever win each event at least one. He was married to Brooke Shields but then dumped her for Steffi Graff. A downgrade on the surface, but when you think about how good their offspring are going to be at tennis, it seems like the right move (we’re talking Tiger Woods domination if they play their parenting cards right). Some guy on a sports talk show in New York said he was the best “ball striker” in the history of tennis. Hmmm, I have no idea what that means, but I guess it’s a good thing (although, it should be noted that “Ball Striker” sounds a little bit too much like the title of a gay porno, not that I know what gay porno titles sound like though).

So the match ends and then it happens. Agassi starts balling his eyes out. I mean, this scene must have lasted a half hour. Personally, I couldn’t take it. I actually flipped to the ball game, watched a half inning, took in a few first downs of the college football and when I came back to the tennis, Agassi was still crying on center court.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some macho man who thinks crying has no place in sports. Just look at Dick Vermeil (granted his antics might fall under the sub category of humorous male tears, but you get the point), I’m down with letting it come out, shit I cried after letting up a game winning touchdown once, in the locker room, in front of the whole team no less. But this was an all out tearfest, a crying fit of the highest degree. This went way beyond the whole “shit, my career is over/thank the crowd for their support” sentiment. This cry was legend making. In fact, the sheer amount of tears Andre Agassi shed last Saturday cemented his place in the history of sports more than anything he ever actually accomplished on the tennis court. Why? Because America loves a good Man-Cry. And Agassi gave us what we needed. Sure, it was overboard and gratuitous and, dare I say, maybe even a little contrived, but an awesome Man-Cry nonetheless. It was a full-fledged scene and the Flushing Meadows crowd ate it up.

Now, get this Andre Agassi. You can never, I repeat, NEVER attempt a comeback. That would be the lamest shit ever.

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