Not Like He Needed It
Well, Pete Sampras won the Open. Again.
I'm not a sports junkie by any stretch. I don't regularly watch any major league sports these days. I stopped watching baseball long before the last strike to end all strikes, and paid little attention to this last crisis. The Niekro brothers were still throwing knuckleballs when I last watched televised baseball, if that tells you anything. I was at Yankee Stadium in 1996 when the Yanks beat the Braves in Game 6. I was happy to be there. Wade Boggs rode a horse around the outfield. But that was an anomaly - both my watching baseball, and the horse thing.
I grew up in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, you've Made It if you're a) a football player, b) a lawyer, c) a lawyer representing a football player. I can't stomach football.
Basketball is okay, but again, I'm sort of Washington Bullets-era.
For the most part, I'd rather watch The Simpsons, or be outside.
I do, however, just about every year, watch at least a little of the following:
Tour de France
U.S. Open (USTA and PGA)
So I caught the women's and men's finals. At least a little to most of each. All-American. Kinda cool. I sort of wish the USTA president hadn't made such a big deal out of that fact, but... that's a topic for another installment.
I used to live in New York, which I've mentioned numerous times on various spots on this site. I could go on about that fact ad infinitum, but, again, another [series of] installment[s]. I do remember very clearly seeing for the first time the signs for the Number Seven train, going to Flushing Meadows: U.S. Open. I am always reminded of a gigantic, verdant toilet when I think of the locale.
Anyway, for two weeks every summer people from New York head out to Queens - a borough most New Yorkers would never deign to visit (except perhaps for a trip to the airport of their choice - I prefer LaGuardia) on any other occasion - for the U.S. Open. It's pretty cool. I never went, myself. I mean, I'm not going to go to Queens. It's just not going to happen. But every year they hit the little, yellow ball around out there in Outland, and I turn on the TV and I watch.
I think it was 1995 or 1996... pretty sure it was 1995 (I'm too busy to look up stats), when Sampras and Agassi ended up in the men's final. The media had been All Over It. Battle of the Titans, etc. Nike ads (which were pretty cool). There had been an article, I think it was the Times Magazine, where they had put together a sort of blind study comparing the two men. In the study you had to match up traits like "curses like a sailor," "hates being touched while sleeping," etc. with the correct tennis player. I don't remember all of the details, but I do remember that every single detestable trait belonged to... Sampras.
Sampras won that year.
I've always liked Andre. Even in the days of hair plugs. Thank God he got that Bic sponsorship and started shaving the pate. Yes, there was the drama, the endless hooey with Brooke, the 'tude. But the boy can play. I'm not trying to take anything away from Pete - he's probably the best to have ever played. I just have always liked Andre's game. [And by the way, I've never played an actual game of tennis - or, "match," as I believe it's called - in my life.]
I could never get all that excited about Pete. His head looks like a heavily-used but cherished Brillo pad.
Bridgette Wilson is pretty good in Love Stinks. French Stewart is quite good.
As I always have, I was pulling for Agassi. There was much talk of the two of these men, Sampras and Agassi, being Old as the Hills, at 31 and 32, respectively. Pretty much... my age. How their tired, old, frail legs just wouldn't carry them into a fourth set. How they probably wouldn't live much longer. How they couldn't sit down anymore without a special pad in the chair, due to the piles. You'd have thought O2 would have been on the sidelines. Actually, it probably was. That, and Metamucil.
Anyway, Sampras won - again - this year. Pete beat Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. For a while in the fourth set it looked like Andre might battle back. But it was not to be. The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be.
I was bummed. This is almost certainly the last time Pete and Andre will meet in the final at The Open. Pete will probably move on to other things. Maybe Andre will play a year or two more. Even if Andre came back and won The Open, it probably won't be against Pete. And that's too bad.
I was in a team meeting this morning, and somehow the match came up, and someone was happy that Sampras won, and I expressed my chagrin. Another guy across the table says, "Well what do you want? Should Pete have taken a dive?"
I had watched "Quiz Show" yesterday, which I'd never seen. Good stuff. I thought Rob Morrow gave a surprisingly good performance, and Funny-named Fiennes was pretty okay too. Anyway, the flick was fresh in my mind.
"Yes," I responded. "Pete should have taken the money Geritol provided and done a Jimmy Connors 'Oh my aching back' act."
Anyway, thanks for the show, fellas. Especially you, Andre, you shiny-headed son-of-a-boxer.
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