Now it is the summer of 1997. A little over a year has gone by since I lost that $100 to Soop and it has slowly started to hurt less and less. The jokes about my trips to the blood/sperm bank to get the money to cover my losses had slowly started to wane. I was even able to watch and enjoy the playoffs while the Bulls were busy cleaning up and winning the championship.
So I never saw what happened at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic coming.
Back in those days it was great to have a mother that worked for a lobbying firm. Free tickets to events were abundant back then. We took advantage when we could too. So one day, in the middle of July, when we were offered a bunch of tickets to sit in box seats right on the court at the Legg Mason, we didn’t pass them up.
I guess I will get this out-of-the-way up front: I couldn’t care less about Tennis. I don’t know anything about the game and I honestly don’t care to learn. I mean, I know the basics of the game itself I just don’t keep up on the players and who is who.
It really takes a lot for me to get beyond the ridiculous scoring: Love, 15, 30, 40, Deuce, Ad, Game. What? Why is your first and second scoring point worth 15 while your third is worth 10? And when you tie at 40 it is called Deuce? What? This shit doesn’t make sense and when I start to even try to think about it I get all angry.
Put it this way, I would rather watch soccer. That is how little I care about tennis.
But I am a sports fan and these were free tickets…so we jumped on them.
And we were kind of excited because André Agassi was going to be playing in one of the matches of the night.
Fuckin’ André Agassi.
So here is what I knew going into that night: Agassi had won some shit. He had already won 3 of the 4 Grand Slam tournaments, (he didn’t win at the French Open until 1999) a Gold Medal at the Olympics and was a previously ranked Number 1 player in the world. Oh yeah, and earlier that year he got married to Brooke Shields.
So yeah…his life was rough. Seemed pretty god damn good to me.
So when we got to the Rock Creek Tennis Center to watch the match and I saw that Agassi (who was currently ranked #8 in the world) was going to be playing some guy named Doug Flach. It was almost laughable that the 8th ranked player in the world would be playing the player ranked #174. I was ready to watch Agassi do some ass kicking.
Not Soop though.
No, not Soop. As soon as we got to our seats he started in on me with his reasons that Agassi was going to lose:
“He has been playing all season with a hurt wrist.”
“He doesn’t look ready to play.”
“Brooke is over there and that bitch is killing his career!”
I had to look over to see if he was right and sure enough she was just two boxes over from us…and looking freakin’ fantastic too. How can someone looking that good be a jinx to anyone? And who cares about a hurt wrist? The guy he was playing was ranked 174th. I could have probably given him a run for his money. And I suck at tennis.
Seriously, I think the only times I really played tennis was with my old roommate Rob. And he would never run. EVER. He would stand in the center of the court and smoke cigarettes while we played. If I didn’t hit the ball straight at him that would be the end of that point. He would just watch as the ball bounced against the fence after halfheartedly sticking his racquet out to give the appearance that he gave a shit. And because at that point in my life I actually cared about having at least a little fun while playing tennis I would try my hardest to hit the ball straight at him everytime.
But you know what that bastard would do?
Yep, you’re right. That son of a bitch would hit the ball from corner to corner making me run my fat ass off until I would collapse. We would head home and I would be drenched in sweat and feeling like my legs were going to fall off and Rob would still be smoking and not in the least bit sweaty.
Come to think of it, that is probably why I don’t like tennis very much. Anyway….
So we have Brooke on one hand and a hurt wrist on the other. I am very confident that Agassi can phone this one in. So Soop tells me to put up or shut up. He pretended to be a nice guy and was offering me the chance to get my $100 back.
I practically jumped at the chance to make this bet. Easiest Benjamin I would ever make.
Fuckin’ Andre Agassi.
Everything started out well. Andre won the first set 6-2 and then broke serve to start the second set 2-0. This match was flying by and I could not have been more confident.
I was already counting the money.
Fuckin’ Andre Agassi.
I don’t know what happened. It was like Agassi’s body just stopped working. He couldn’t do anything right. He was double faulting all over the place and looked like a man twice his age out there. Flach was running him ragged through that second set and won it 6-4.
As the third set began I was having the “Oh no not again” feeling creeping into my gut. I started bitching about Agassi and his stupid limp wrist. I was cursing that bitch Brooke Shields and giving her the stinkeye (and I think I flipped her the bird a couple of times) from across our boxes. I just knew that this match was over.
Sure enough, Agassi double faulted 15 times that match and pretty much bent over for Doug Flach. That no-named bastard had Agassi limping around and crying his way through the third set. It wasn’t even close.
One hundred and fucking seventy-fourth in the world?
This time the money was so hard to pull out of my pocket to hand over to Soop. It was as if I was handing over a part of my soul with that cash. And Soop, like the Devil himself, was happy to collect that sliver of my soul.
How did this happen? Again? Little did I know that this was the year that Agassi decided to take up the pipe and start down the wonderful road of crystal meth addiction. Yay me for betting on a freakin’ meth head.
It was on that day, the 16th day of July in 1997, that I vowed to never bet Soop on another sporting event again. Starting with the Bulls the previous year and culminating with the Agassi farce at the Legg Mason I had just had enough.
And this lasted for 15 years, 8 months and 7 days.
Until the curse was broken last weekend at the Legg Mason Classic.
Fuckin’ Andre Agassi.