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Editorial By Ryan Wolfington

With Andre Agassi's new Biography ready to hit books shelves Monday November 9th many are speculating as to why the tennis great was so honest with his life story. Some have even gone so far as to criticize his decision to be so "Open."

Andre Agassi faces adversity, stares it in the eye and triumphs; That has been the pattern of his life. His example has loomed as the classic hero, filled with challenges and foes only to slay the dragon time and time again. He overcame poverty, the rigors of training, tough losses, divorce and now he reveals in 1997 at the low point of his life he beat back the demons of drug use. This, right before the story book reversal of fortune that ended with grand slam titles, a ground breaking charitable foundation, and most importantly a happy life with wife Stephanie Graff and their two children in Las Vegas.

No one has done more for this community than Andre Agassi. He spends more than half his time, half his phone calls and half his resources for his charitable foundation and other charities. Most celebrities use this time for endorsements and self serving projects, which is their right. Yet Andre is on a completely different level. I am sure there was a time and place where Andre Agassi was not perfect, as is true for me and everyone else I know. Few have done so much to redeem themselves.

"I got to see up-close the kind of person Andre Agassi is, how he treated me, others he works with and most of all the children he helps," said NCAA Champion Tim Blenkiron. "All of us have made mistakes, few have had the guts to admit them and even fewer have done so much to help the community."

What other athlete or celebrity has used their time, talent, resources and fame for so much good? Andre Agassi built a Boys and Girls Club, he helps local charities anonymously, he built a school for inner city youth, the man was running from table to table at his annual fundraiser to get people to sponsor children just because they need his help. This past year he spent weeks preparing for the first graduating class of the Andre Agassi Prep School, all of which went on to college. Even the time he spent going to the graduation, giving tours of the school to donors, doing press interviews and calling supporters for the foundation. Instead of spending his time building an empire for himself, he spends his time helping others working on a foundation that does nothing but good. As a result he has raised over $65,000,000 and just as important Andre has set the standard for celebrities and athletes to use their fame to help others.

"Knowing Andre he was probably trying to show everyone that no matter how low life can seem you can come back and do great things," said Blenkiron of Andre's admission of past mistakes. "Andre has been an inspiration to me and to so many. His ups and downs are just like many of our own lives. No one is perfect and few rise to the occasion to change for the better. Setting this telling example is his greatest achievement in my opinion."

Who in their life has not made a bad mistake? Who at one point did not get along with their parents? Who among us have used so much of our time, resources and abilities to help others?

Celebrities and sports figures like Andre Agassi do not owe us anything. The efforts in their field are contribution enough. Yet a few extraordinary men like Andre Agassi parlay their success to help the community and those who are less fortunate.

Andre has been getting the attention by being open his whole career. Now he is sharing with us the lessons of his life in hopes they may inspire us one more time.

 
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