- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
I was a boxer, too, Peter says—and I would have knocked you out.
I cringe, knowing what's coming. I wheel just in time to see Stefanie's 63-year-old father take off his shirt and tell my 69-year-old father: Look at me. Look at the shape I'm in. I'm taller than you. I can keep you at bay with my jab.
My father says, You think so? Come on! You and me.
Peter is trash-talking in German, my father is trash-talking in Assyrian, and they're both putting up their fists. They're circling, feinting, bobbing and weaving, and just before one of them throws hands, I step in, push them apart.
They're winded, sweating. My father's eyes are dilated. Peter's chest is beaded with sweat. They see, however, that I'm not going to let them mix it up, so they go to neutral corners. I turn off the dragon, and we all walk off the court.
At home, Stefanie kisses me and asks how it went.
I'll tell you later, I say, reaching for the tequila.
I don't know when a margarita has ever tasted so good.
Everyone travels to New York for my last U.S. Open. The whole team: Stefanie, our children, my parents, my brother Philly, Gil, my friend Perry Rogers, my coach Darren Cahill. We invade the Four Seasons, colonize my favorite Manhattan restaurant, Campagnola. The children smile to hear the applause as we walk in. To my ear, the applause sounds different this time. It has a subtext. They know this isn't about me, it's about all of us finishing something special together.