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The Beating Of A Lifetime

By: KRISTEN DALEY

Chris Wetzel (300)
Chris Wetzel, a 22-year-old intramural
tennis player from Ohio Northern
University prepares to face Andy
Roddick - who would use a frying pan.
Plenty of tennis players the world over can say they’ve been beaten by Andy Roddick. But not many can say that Andy Roddick beat them with a frying pan.

22-year-old Chris Wetzel is one of the very, very few who can, however, and he’ll even tell you that he enjoyed the experience. In fact, Wetzel, an intramural tennis player from Ohio Northern University, won the opportunity to face off against Roddick—on a tennis court in Boca Raton, Fla., last December. There, the two played a seven-point tie breaker, of which a frying pan-wielding Roddick was the winner.

This unique experience was Wetzel’s prize in an ESPN.com contest that asked readers to reenact a great moment in sports history. With the help of his brother and a friend, Wetzel recreated the moment in 2001 when powerful Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Jones hit and killed a bird mid-flight with one of his throws.

No birds were harmed in the filming of the video. “For some reason, we had a fake macaw parrot sitting around at home,” says Wetzel, an accounting major from Cleveland.

On the baseball field, Wetzel suspended the bird from a long pole using thin strings. “My brother threw pitches at the bird until he hit it,” says Wetzel. “He legitimately hit the bird, and its feathers came off.”

In Boca Raton, Wetzel did manage to ruffle Roddick’s feathers, taking a 3-1 lead in the match until Roddick got used to his unusual racquet. “He adapted to frying pan fairly quickly,” says Wetzel. “It seems serves would have been rather difficult to hit into the box, but he managed. He hit a lot of lob shots, which for some reason is the shot I dread returning most.”

Roddick Playing With Frying Pan (300)
Andy Roddick played this charity event with an All-Clad
Brushed Stainless Steel Professional Fry Pan.
While Wetzel’s winning video was coordinated and well thought out, he didn’t go into his match with Roddick with any strategy other than “wanting to at least get one point.” His game was a little rusty, he admits, due to the cold and wet conditions in Ohio that kept him off court that Fall. “I hadn’t played in a while,” he says. “It snows up here, and when I go outside to hit balls, they actually blow backwards in the air.”

Still, he says, the experience was a good one. “There was a surreal moment in the middle of it when I thought, ‘huh, this is really happening.’”


For more information on:

    • Chris Wetzel's Winning Video

    • ESPN.com Article With Full Roddick/Wetzel Match Video







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