Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The essence of good discipline is respect

For christmas I got Andre Agassi's autobiography 'Open'. I've been a fan of Agassi for years and was really excited to read it. I was shocked that the first thing I learn about him is that he hates tennis. I couldn't believe it. But I learn from the book why.

I can't say I enjoyed the book because it's full of so much anger. I feel I'm more interested in who Andre has become than where he has come from. I get that he had a lot of troubles while he was young like many people in sport and was forced into tennis rather than being given a choice.

I stuck with the first half of the book then just plain got bored. After reading about winning or losing 4 or 5 slams I've pretty much heard it all.After hearing him slag of most of the people on the tennis circuit, again, I've pretty much heard it all. I don't need a play by play account.

Maybe the book changed its tone later on but I didn't detect any change whilst skimming it. The last 20 or so pages ended up being what I'm really interested in. Unfortunately the book has put me off Agassi as a tennis player. He's another example of someone constantly trying to prove himself, rather than realising he has nothing to prove. He was one of the mosted gifted of his generation and at times achieved the level that Federer achieves now.

I can accept that he was simply maturing. Sports, these days, are a young persons pursuit at the highest level and  the book describes a young man maturing. I just want to hear a lot more about the man who built a world class teaching facility for the poor of Las Vegas and through foundation. The dreams he has for the school, it's staff and pupils. What has tennis and it's fame and notoriety taught Andre that he wants to pass on to these kids and his own children. What can his generation teach the next.

I found something I really like near the end of the book (p382). The code of respect the pupils and Andre recite every day before school.
The essence of good discipline is respect.
Respect for authority and respect for others.
Respect for self and respect for rules.
It is an attitude that begins at home,
Is reinforced at school,
And is applied through life.
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