March - April 1997: Volume 8, Number 2
Okay, I need a hand here. I'm getting input from so many sides that my brain is full and -- although I'd love to -- I can't undergo a grey matter upgrade as easily as my service technician can slap cheap memory into my desktop. So let's try to pinpoint the cause of the message that could signal my impending brain hemmorhage. You know ... "fatal application error."
The input goes something like this: the pros are the only way to go if the sport is to survive (all the major sports do it) ... amateurs are the lifeblood of the association (our volunteers and dues-paying members, anyway) ... we need commitment to big-money marketing and promotion (it's a jungle out there) ... we need more "grassroots" programs (it's a jungle in here) ... the industry is in a slump (let's jump start it with a bigger racquet) ... look at big-name shoe sales (please, please let me spend $150.00 on cool court shoes) ... court conversions ruin perfectly good tournament facilities (who can resist all that floor space?) ... court construction is on the rise (people are adding them to "dream home" floor plans).
The magazine angle? RACQUETBALL has got to attract more sponsors and advertisers by becoming a "newstand" piece (you know, like "Tennis" and "Golf") ... it must remain loyal to its readership (those coerced and cajoled members) ... we've got to be more controversial in our coverage (face it, the loudest matches draw the biggest galleries) ... racquetball has to be squeeky-clean (and struggle for media coverage) ... ethics and integrity are crucial to any publication (no smart subtext here)... we've got to do whatever it takes to represent the entire sport (the good, the bad, and the ugly).
We don't have to like it. I often don't. But each and every one of these issues has it's own merit in some form. Still, the questions remain -- how much can we handle? -- can (and should) we be all things to all people? -- how do we achieve a comfortable balance? And, what's at stake if we fail?
The answers to these questions, and more, tonight on "USRA Live" where we'll be taking your calls at 555 ...
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