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Regretfully, but dutifully, Cohen wore his new shoes for the subsequent match. His feet glistened.
"Better?" I asked.
"Oh, I don't know. I hate to wear them. They'll just get dirty and wear out."
"Accept and enjoy," I urged.
We enjoyed most of the time, although Artie suffered even when he won. You've heard of enforcers, the intimidating guys who police ruffians on the other side. We had an enforcer, too, but the guy he had to keep in line was his doubles partner, Artie. Artie always quit when he got behind, so I paired him with Paul McKinnon, who was on the football team. "The first time Artie complains and slows down. I want you to flatten him," I told Paul. I outlined the strategy to Artie, who said. "Are you kidding?" "McKinnon will let you know, Artie," I said. They never lost.
And, of course, we had Salvatore Schiavo-Campo, who lived only to hit grandiose shots—regardless of where they went. "Anybody can keep the ball in play," he said. "That's no fun." And there was Noah, the player who never played on the Sabbath. Because he was Jewish meant he would not raise a racket on Saturday. But each of our matches was on Saturday, so Noah never competed. I asked him why he had tried out when he couldn't play. "I thought it would be fun to see if I could make the team," he said. "I never thought I would be able to do it."
But Abbie Hoffman always showed up to play, and he always hustled. And he always won in the spring of '59. He wasn't the best player I had in my five seasons as coach, but he certainly has gone on to be the most celebrated. I'd like to see him again, and so would the guys he played with. Maybe if we had held the reunion in a nearby church, the FBI would have honored the sanctuary principle for a couple of hours and allowed Abbie to join us and celebrate his athletic anniversary.
Perhaps Abbie is still playing, if there are tennis courts underground. A classmate, Lynn Elgart, delivered a damning reminiscence of Abbie just before he disappeared. "I ran into him at a tennis club," she said, "and what a letdown. There was Abbie, the great antiestablishmentarian, and he was in white from head to toe. I couldn't believe a revolutionary would be so conventionally dressed. It was like he'd sold out to the middle class."
I'm more charitable about that. Nobody's perfect. In the old days at Brandeis I was a stickler for white court attire and I might have given Abbie some sartorial character. Or perhaps he was practicing hiding out, preparing himself to melt into straight America in snow-white tennis clothes.