- Freddy Ramirez
Action. Personality. Who Sees What? How?
Outside of our group, not a lot is made in the mainstream about our sport. That's fine, many sports exist in their own bubbles. I find myself wanting our bubble to be something those on the outside, when looking in, say to themselves, "That looks cool." I do that with some sport content I see, and think to myself, how cool would it be to do that. But honestly, a lot of that stuff takes dedicating time and resources, that prohibit just doing it. But that's mostly the extreme sport stuff. But when I see the best tennis or basketball, I know giving time can be relatively easy.
Attention. How can we do that exactly? Our sport gets it. But it's a bit skewed. Paola Longoria gets it in Mexico. She happens to be the best in the world at what she does, and the country loves that. Add to that that she is marketable, and boom, 52,000 Twitter followers, and tons of cool media. That happened without seeing tons of footage of her playing or being able to easily see her play. The country has incentive. Their people claim her.
Look at this. Red Bull Media House noticed her... proving the possibility I point towards.
Worldwide, racquetball is relatively small compared to other sports that have numbers in the tens of millions. Sports that are similar... like squash or other racquet sports. Give those players a real feel for what today's pro racquetball looks and feels like, and things can change. Boom, just like that. Who would benefit from that? There are parallels happening with Paola Longoria and the IRT's Kane Waselenchuk. Kane's dominance is more deeply rooted in drama and incredible action, yet, who claims Kane?
A couple of seasons ago, I recall there being a thread with the question, "Is Kane's dominance good for racquetball?" Basically looking at whether an almost certain outcome at events caused people to lose interest. The general feeling, though, was that it really is good for the sport. I agree and feel there is "boom" there. And I feel there is enough behind it, in the form of talented players that can draw real attention worldwide. It's all in the delivery... Should that be a concerted effort or that of just a few? It definitely can be fun to watch for anyone that likes sports action.
The International Racquetball Tour started off with real drama. Jose Rojas beating Kane in the Kansas semifinal, had everyone looking forward to to what would happen at the U.S. Open, when the two met again. Though there was a general feeling that Kane wouldn't let anything like that happen again, the two didn't get to meet. Jose ran into a really motivated Ben Croft. (I've compared the two players before.) Croft served Rojas a bagel in the first game. Jose faced the adversity and took it to 5. Ben, who is always interactive with the crowds, said a couple of times, "Who am I?" Croft took the match and in doing so, answered his own question.
He is the IRT. So is Rocky Carson and Rojas, and the slew of exciting players. Their action. That drama.
It's that drama, those up close, bits of fast diving action, on that court, edited and well put together... that needs to get out there. People will watch.