Life is a Tennis Match

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Andre Agassi Holding a Tennis Racket

 

Life is a tennis match between polar opposites. Winning and losing, love and hate, open and closed. It helps to recognize that painful fact early. Then recognize the polar opposites within yourself, and if you can’t embrace them, or reconcile them, at least accept them and move on. The only thing you cannot do is ignore them.

Andre Agassi

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The Nobility of Being a Journeyer

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After dinner Mandela stands and gives a stirring talk. His theme: we must all care for one another – this is our task in life. But also we must care for ourselves, which means we must be careful  in our decisions, careful in our relationships, careful in our statements. We must manage our lives carefully, in order to avoid becoming victims.

Finally, Mandela talks about the road he’s traveled. He talks about the difficulty of all human journeys – and yet, he says, there is clarity and nobility in just being a journeyer. When he stops speaking and takes his chair I know that my journey, compared with his, is nothing, and yet that’s not his point. Mandela is saying that every journey is important, and that no journey is impossible.

Andre Agassi

Helping Others

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The look on his face is a complete shock. I didn’t understand the meaning and value of education, the hardship and stress it causes most parents and children. I’ve never thought of education like that. School was always a place I managed to escape, not a thing to be treasured. Setting aside the stock was merely something I did because Frankie specifically mentioned college and I wanted to help. When I saw what it meant to him, however, I was the one who got educated.

Helping Frankie provides more satisfaction and makes me feel more connected and alive and myself than anything else that happens in 1996. I tell myself: Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting value or meaning. This is why we’re here. To make each other feel safe.

Andre Agassi

Dream While You are Awake

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One morning, before the sun comes up, he passes along some words his mother always tell him.

Qué lindo es sonar despierto, he says. How lovely it is to dream while you are awake. Dream while you’re awake, Andre. Anybody can dream while they’re asleep, but you need to dream all the time, and say your dreams out loud, and believe in them. 

In other words, when in the final of a slam, I must dream. I must play to win.

Andre Agassi

The kitchen sink

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One thing I’ve learned in twenty-nine years of playing tennis: Life will throw everything but the kitchen sink in your path, and then it will throw the kitchen sink. It’s your job to avoid the obstacles. If you let them stop you or distract you, you’re not doing your job, and failing to do your job will cause regrets that paralyze you more than a bad back.

Andre Agassi