At dawn I sighed to see my hairs fall;
At dusk I sighed to see my hairs fall . . .
Did Agassi lose his first French Open final because he worried his wig might fall off? “Image is everything.” Vegas, entertainment, the flashy shot. When the going got tough, his beautiful zen-like-deer-in-the-headlight eyes. How to explain Agassi’s eyes and hands, his quick-twitch-perfect-timing return of serve. Childhood’s father, an olympic boxer, creates dragon monster: a souped-up ball machine spitting fast balls, curves. Hit or be hit. Children can defend themselves. Timing can be learned. Slay the father by becoming the father. Tennis as boxing. Ground strokes as body blows. Train. Train. Meditate. Train. Run hills in the heat, bench 300 pounds. Serve wide to the forehand. Kick it out wide to the backhand. The next shot in the opposite corner. Corner to corner. Take out the legs, the head will go. Became the oldest male player to become #1. Punk. Monk. Bodhissattva.
Now I know why the priest who seeks repose
frees his heart by shaving his head.
(Bo Zuhyi, “On His Baldness”)
About the Artist: Based in San Francisco, Brian Estill has a BA in Art from San Jose State University. Often working in the area of sports portraiture, he has painted numerous tennis players such as Gael Monfils, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi, and others. His work emphasizes a very colorful and direct approach to his subjects. You can learn more about him and see more of his work on his website.
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An earlier version of this work first appeared in Another Chicago Review.