Sure enough, McEnroe began his mid-game charge. Sure enough, my lead soon dissolved. Watching shot after shot go awry, I began to accept my fate. I soon found myself on the short end of a 20-17 score, McEnroe serving.
What followed defies understanding. If I could explain it, I suppose I would have made my high school baseball team, instead of barely lasting the first practice. McEnroe and I switched personalities. I became the aggressor, and he began flailing. I won the next five points—and the game, 22-20.
There were no explosions of emotion, from either side of the net. I did not exult, and McEnroe did not sulk. We were friends. He simply grinned his sheepish, hand-patting-his-hair-down grin and I grinned my damn-was-I-lucky grin, and we went to his room to listen to some music.
Let not my display of good sportsmanship diminish the import of the victory to me. Next to my two Little League no-hitters and getting an autographed picture of Bear Bryant, it stands as my greatest athletic accomplishment.
But I am not one to rub in such victories. I don't want to hurt or embarrass John. Then again, the time has come to let the world know. His reputation can withstand the shock. If he can recover from losing to a Vince Van Patten, I imagine he will be able to handle my revealing this.