From "The Outsider: A Memoir": Jimmy Connors' Mom Gets Punched

Frank Silbermann

Professional
From the article:

Two guys in their early twenties come over to hang out, and they get on the next court. They place a large transistor radio at the foot of the net post and turn it on full blast. The music is so loud we can't hear Mom giving us instructions across the net. She asks them politely to turn the music down. They ignore her. They are screwing around, yelling and swearing. Mom asks them, again, to please turn it down or move over a court. They call her a *****. We keep playing. My grandfather, who is chief of the parks police, comes over.

Pops, as we call him, likes to watch us practice. He isn't happy with the guys next to us, but neither is he looking for trouble. We stop and watch as Pop approaches them.

"Boys, would you mind turning that down a little?"

One punk starts to bend down; I think he's going to turn off the music. Instead he throws himself at my grandfather, catches him off guard, and tackles him to the concrete.

The punk straddles Pop, grabs him by the shirt collar, and starts banging his head into the court.

I don't even notice my mom run over to help her father. When she goes to grab the young guy by the shoulder, he whirls around and punches her right in the mouth. Her teeth go flying. ... What teeth she has left in her mouth are shoved through her lips and gums.
...
In the emergency room, the doctors treat Pop's head wound.

Then it's Mom's turn. They pull out her last remaining teeth and she gets hundreds of stitches in her mouth.
...
She won't be able to pronounce any words for a month. She literally has to learn how to talk again. My mother will struggle with the injuries to her mouth until the day she dies, but she never complains or makes a big deal out of it.

(My take: His grandfather could have died. Even though he initiated the confrontation, it's too bad the grandfather had nothing with which to shoot the unarmed young man.)
 
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BTURNER

Legend
From the article:

Two guys in their early twenties come over to hang out, and they get on the next court. They place a large transistor radio at the foot of the net post and turn it on full blast. The music is so loud we can't hear Mom giving us instructions across the net. She asks them politely to turn the music down. They ignore her. They are screwing around, yelling and swearing. Mom asks them, again, to please turn it down or move over a court. They call her a *****. We keep playing. My grandfather, who is chief of the parks police, comes over.

Pops, as we call him, likes to watch us practice. He isn't happy with the guys next to us, but neither is he looking for trouble. We stop and watch as Pop approaches them.

"Boys, would you mind turning that down a little?"

One punk starts to bend down; I think he's going to turn off the music. Instead he throws himself at my grandfather, catches him off guard, and tackles him to the concrete.

The punk straddles Pop, grabs him by the shirt collar, and starts banging his head into the court.

I don't even notice my mom run over to help her father. When she goes to grab the young guy by the shoulder, he whirls around and punches her right in the mouth. Her teeth go flying. ... What teeth she has left in her mouth are shoved through her lips and gums.
...
In the emergency room, the doctors treat Pop's head wound.

Then it's Mom's turn. They pull out her last remaining teeth and she gets hundreds of stitches in her mouth.
...
She won't be able to pronounce any words for a month. She literally has to learn how to talk again. My mother will struggle with the injuries to her mouth until the day she dies, but she never complains or makes a big deal out of it.

(My take: His grandfather could have died. Even though he initiated the confrontation, it's too bad the grandfather had nothing with which to shoot the unarmed young man.)
Great story, lousy clumsy and inept 'take'. Let's not drag anything beyond tennis into this subforum. If you are bored or frustrated with its constraints, I will offer you links to those without them.
 

Vanhool

Legend
Great story, lousy clumsy and inept 'take'. Let's not drag anything beyond tennis into this subforum. If you are bored or frustrated with its constraints, I will offer you links to those without them.
+1.

The 2 things I found particularly interesting: 1) He was 8 years old when the incident ocurred. He says this was the memory he would use to summon a competitive rage on the court (maybe explains a lot of his on court behavior? Making something horrible into a positive?). 2) He and his brother talked her into hitting with them THE NEXT DAY! How hardcore was she?! And what did that teach him?

I really had no interest in reading this book, but between this excerpt and the 1978 SI article that was posted the other day, I'm intrigued. I might pick it up to read en route to Cincy.
 

reds17

Rookie
+1.

The 2 things I found particularly interesting: 1) He was 8 years old when the incident ocurred. He says this was the memory he would use to summon a competitive rage on the court (maybe explains a lot of his on court behavior? Making something horrible into a positive?). 2) He and his brother talked her into hitting with them THE NEXT DAY! How hardcore was she?! And what did that teach him?

I really had no interest in reading this book, but between this excerpt and the 1978 SI article that was posted the other day, I'm intrigued. I might pick it up to read en route to Cincy.
I'd highly recommend it. Read this through in its entirety while on vacation a few weeks ago. It is a well-written and engaging book, I had a tough time putting it down.
 

Torres

Banned
I'm on Chapter 15 and I have say that the more I read the less and less I like him. He comes across as really quite obnoxious, arrogant and self absorbed with a lot of (false?) bravado.
 

Rozroz

G.O.A.T.
I'm on Chapter 15 and I have say that the more I read the less and less I like him. He comes across as really quite obnoxious, arrogant and self absorbed with a lot of (false?) bravado.
i presume you are right (didn't read it),
but still, even when I read the Agassi book, which i presume is more personal and indeed, open, i still found it hard to keep reading when i started to get that feeling he was trying to write himself as a person we will definitely like in the end. not so sure about that either.
Connors is Connors, but Agassi is more manipulative. i didn't feel i trust him.
 

Bhagi Katbamna

Hall of Fame
"My older brother, Johnny, and I are playing tennis on the public courts in Jones Park, in East St. Louis, Illinois."

They were lucky they weren't killed.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Can't wait to read this book. Now we know part of what made Connors a true beast on court. He used his anger to win 109 titles against 3 generations of players. Our greatest American male player after Sampras, IMO.
 

Torres

Banned
About half way through but I'm tempted to stop reading this book. The number of times Connors says how great he is, how feted he was, how important he was for the game, and how constantly talks himself up at the expense of his opponents is just ridiculous! Arrogance and bravado doesn't even begin to describe him. The more I read about what he's written about himself, the less and less I like him. He's just ridiculously full of himself.
 
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Having lived in the Chicago area from 1978-2010, I can tell you there are plenty of bad areas there, but everyone said East St Louis was far worse than anywhere in Chicago. Quite a statement.
 

Torres

Banned
Am about 3/4 through the book.Once he starts talking about the tail end of his career and his struggles playing on the tour into his mid and late 30s, difficulties experienced by his friends, family etc he becomes a LOT more likeable. Suddenly he becomes more human instead of putting on the bravado routine.
 
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