Pancho Gonzalez is my Homeboy

Pancho - backhand

This guy is leeeeeyendary!  Way ahead of his time, Pancho Gonzalez was a flamboyant and unapologetic personality and considered by his peers and those who followed to be one of the best to ever play.  Given a tennis racquet by his mom, this future US champion taught himself how to play tennis at the age of 12… 12!  In the age of tennis academies where kids are shipped off to south Florida at the age of 5 if they show the right promise, can you imagine a Pete Sampras or an Andre Agassi never playing until they were 12?  Loco, I say…LOCO!  Below is a clip from a 2006 documentary on Pancho narrated by esteemed Gaucho alum Benjamin Bratt (UCSB ’86).  I have to admit, the Aztec warrior in the intro is a little cheesy…I mean really? Aztec warrior swinging a tennis racquet?  Would a documentary on Hank Greenberg open with Moses swinging a baseball bat?  Maybe… and ¿que chingada con Robert Redford as the still frame image? …pretty cheap stab at boosting the web hits…but it’s otherwise a solid piece on one of the most compelling yet under-appreciated figures in American tennis if not all of sports.

¡Que viva Pancho!

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~ by El Pollo Rico on September 11, 2009.

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