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Dr. Johnny Benjamin Headshot

Andre Agassi ... Keep Your Head Up, Dude

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Andre Agassi is taking a lot of heat related to recent interviews and admissions made in his upcoming autobiography.  The revelation of his crystal meth use and subsequent misrepresentations (lies) to tennis’ governing body when questioned after a failed drug screen seem to be the source of most of the negative criticism.

I have not and most likely will not read his book (not my type of subject matter).  And I am one of those people that look unfavorably on celebs that spontaneously begin to air dirty laundry during a book promotion tour.  I don’t know if their father did all of those horrible alleged things to them many, many years ago or not.  I just view the timing of the revelations to be self-serving and usually financially motivated. 

Are they truly hoping that their story will help someone or are they merely attempting to make a quick buck and star on a reality show?

Though I have not read Agassi’s book, I have viewed and read many of the interviews, the 60 Minutes interview with Katie Couric and Rick Reilly’s piece for ESPN in specific.

I am not a board certified psychiatrist or psychologist but I’ve treated my fair share of athletes as an orthopedic surgeon during and after their careers.  At the highest levels and especially for those involved in solo, non-team oriented sports theirs is a lonely existence.  The public only sees or cares to see the glitz, glamour and privilege.  Little mention is made of the other 90% of their lives; the portion outside of public view.

Apparently, I have a much different perspective regarding Andre Agassi’s book and revelations. 

Have you ever tried to live with a secret?  It will consume you and has the ability to take you to a very dark place. You live in fear of being discovered or in some cases ‘outed’ in a very demeaning manner.  Past issues and choices can directly influence your future and many times with devastating consequences.  Therefore, your ‘secrets’ have a life of their own.

Exposing your secret under circumstances of your choosing when you are ready has been described many ways by many people.  Fortunately, the vast majority of people who endure this process seem to view it as an overwhelmingly positive growth experience.  They speak as if a tremendous burden has been removed and they are no longer hindered by their past.

That is how I see Andre Agassi.  He does not appear, to me, to be financially motivated or seeking one last moment in the spotlight.  He appears to be a human being attempting to grow and find a happier sustainable place in this world.

And isn’t that a journey that many of us share?


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