Sometimes an article comes along that makes you embarrassed to think you were ever a good writer. This is one of those articles. The title says it all: Dear Michael Chang, You Ruined My Tennis Career. Thanks for Nothing. By Huan Hsu.
Even if you allow that Chang influenced Chinese-Americans to participate in sports beyond the Academic Decathlon, he still shackled us with another stereotype. Thanks to him, we were all seen as determined counterpunchers, tireless tongue-lolling retrievers who compensated for our lack of physical gifts by outlasting our opponents because we couldn't outplay them.
Before Chang, we were free to dream about becoming Boris Becker, that Teutonic badass who strutted around the baseline, blasting aces, or Edberg, the square-jawed Swede with a stylish attacking game and a hot blond girlfriend. Now we were stuck with the introverted, 5-foot-9 (on his best day) Chang, a devout Christian with a cream-puff serve who scrapped his way to the French Open title with borderline bush-league tricks (moonballing, crowding the service line on returns, the instantly legendary underhand serve). Worst of all, his dragon-lady mother once stuck her hand down his shorts after a practice to check if they were wet. At the Junior Davis Cup! In front of his friends! After Becker retired, he impregnated a woman in a restaurant's cleaning closet; when Chang hung up his sticks, he studied theology at Biola University.
So true. So true.
My favorite part:
As a junior player, I insisted on being as un-Chang-like as possible, hitting one-handed backhands and rushing the net. It worked: Unlike Michael Chang, I lost a lot. My coaches pleaded with me to put two hands on my backhand, stay on the baseline, and stop trying to hit fancy shots. But as long as kids at local tournaments would tell me that I looked like Chang (it had been Bruce Lee, before) or assume I knew him personally (I did not), I refused.
A great article. Check it out. It's on Slate for goodness sake!