May - June 1997: Volume 8, Number 3


by Linda Mojer

With due credit to Saturday Night Live's "Coffee Talk" I'll give you a topic: personal responsibility ... do we make our own destiny — or simply react to it? Discuss.

Particular to racquetball, there are lots of things that require that we take an active part in what is going around us. For example, the glaring absence of women (or amateurs, for that matter) in ESPN's televised coverage of the U.S. Open. Although the event was designed to be much larger than your average IRT stop, why wasn't it treated that way? Discuss.

Sports Illustrated — that wildly popular icon of sports culture — recently exceeded its editorial commitment well beyond the swimsuit issue to announce the debut of an entire publication dedicated to women's sports. Evidently the market for women's sports is viable enough for this type of venture by a major publishing concern. And they'll no doubt be underwritten through massive advertising campaigns by Nike, Reebok, Adidas — and many others — which compete fiercely for the female consumer. The twenty-year old Womens Sports + Fitness (the official publication of the Womens Sports Foundation) boasts a circulation of 500,000. No doubt SI's Women|Sport expects to reach at least that number, probably more. So isn't it more than a bit "politically incorrect" to cling to the notion of a "relative market value" for top female racquetball pros that sets their worth at well below half of their male counterparts? Discuss.

The notion is simple. The best in women's racquetball is equal to the best in men's racquetball ... and they don't have to compete against each other to prove it. "Operation Gold" funds from the U.S. Olympic Committee are allocated at exactly identical levels for men and women — all the way down the line. Which is the most productive, and progressive, road for racquetball to take? Discuss.

So, back to the premise. Who's responsible for making sure racquetball does the right thing? We are. The people who play the game, buy equipment, watch ESPN and save up for the Nikes. How do we make a difference? By reaching out to those major market interests that want our business. Find those addresses and phone numbers and make noise — it sure can't hurt.

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