July - August 1997: Vol. 8, No. 4

by Linda Mojer

Hold it right there. That's right. All you players out there who all of a sudden decided to jam up my email (and snail mail) with complaints about equipment changes in the market. And before you start up again, please give some thought to the following...

Over 30,000 March/April magazines — each containing ballots to select new members to the Board of Directors and non-binding selections of which rule changes to adopt — were mailed to voting members and subscribers in early spring. Of that grand total, the number of ballots marked and returned was a whopping 284. Let's see ... that's roughly .94 percent. Not even a single, full percentage point. Now, I'm no statistician (or politician, for that matter), but it seems to me that you can't truly expect to direct your decision-makers through that kind of response.

Nonetheless, you'll find a policy statement responding to the racquet length controversy reprinted on page five (online accompanying "Changing Times". Then, if you want to learn more about the rule-change process, you can contact National Rules Commissioner Otto Dietrich (he'll love that). To learn more about marketing new products, you can refer to the list of manufacturers that accompanied the sponsorship article in the last issue, and speak to any one of them about why they chose to invest huge chunks of their budgets in the research and development of a larger racquet (they'll love that). And to learn more about creating demand for new product, think twice about the last time you bought something you didn't really need. Replaced something that wasn't broken. Upgraded a perfectly serviceable item — just so you could have the latest model (well ... I love that). And while you're at it, could someone find out why I can't get a computer component out of the box before it's obsolete?

So, how do these things differ for racquetball? Quite frankly, they don't. It's a market and we're the consumers. But the last time I checked, we all still operate with free will and retain the right to choose. Now I hope this doesn't come back to haunt him, but my father is fond of remarking that a Hogan, a Monchik, a Gould, or any of a long list of favorite Florida players, could win if they used a 2x4 instead of racquet. They're that good. In other words, it just might be true that size doesn't matter after all.

So choose. If you're good ... really good ... you might not need a longer racquet. But, if you're a near-compulsive consumer like me you just can't wait to see what those darn marketing wizards have come up with now ...

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