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  • Freddy Ramirez

The Backdoor

As I was warming up on a racquetball court yesterday at Baruch College, I was thinking about what I would post today. Initially, I figured I would mention what happened in Mexico this weekend, or touch on the USA National Doubles starting tomorrow or The Outdoor event happening in Cancun this week that features 3 Wall and One Wall formats.

But somethings I saw in my social feeds just kept popping up in my mind. Usually, I'm pretty good at just letting things go. Especially when it comes to seeing images that originate here, ending up somewhere else. The way things have been working when it comes to photos and sharing them, to date, has left me feeling cool about things. The IRT, US Open and USA Racquetball have been legit with providing synergy by pointing to when images are involved. Which is the sole purpose I commit resources to capture images of racquetball. And highlighting it's people and diversity.

I often talk about it being a good thing for the sport if really good content could be developed within the sport and shared throughout and outside our group. I personally would like to watch more action type videos, see more quality up close content involving players, what they do, how the sport is played and lived, etc. But the sport just doesn't have the resources in line to pump this kind of stuff out. I'm talking about quality content on par with top tier sports or action sports. (Make content creation a priority as a means for providing outside sports sponsors a bigger, more meaningful ROI.) But what doesn't work, is a sense that the sport is rife with a sense of entitlement.

As it is now, these organizations are supported by manufacturers in return for exposure for their products. Obvious. And they get what they pay for. Their brands continuously cross the view of engaged fans and followers. And of course, brands do their own marketing. Tournament directors, promoting their events, by default point to these organizations and when they use photos, it can point directly and indirectly to us. It works for me.

It's when manufacturers and promoters take these images and make them their own, outside of this, is one of the problems keeping things from progressively going anywhere. The sport experienced some residual blowback because of this a couple of years ago. A legal fight for photo rights. As a disclaimer, I've sold images to manufacturers in the past. Not a lot of times, but a few, and all for well below what professional photographers get for exclusive images. What I do, is keep putting stuff out. Images, words and videos pointing to the sport. It's in proportion to the resources here. And the major reason why I commit resources to pointing a camera.

Before the weekend I saw these two photos in my social feed.


Both images of the players originated here. I was a bit surprised by the etiquette. One was sold to the manufacturer one wasn't. The one that wasn't most likely was lifted from an IRT's Facebook posting. The IRT, in its integrity, links to us when they post. The post garnered 11 shares and well over 70 likes. With a direct link to our page, this is a proper example of the synergy I work for. And even though I noticed the photo right away, I felt ok enough that the International Racquetball Tour was well advertised in these posting. The manufacturer is highlighting their player's success within the IRT's rankings, that in turn boosts things for them. What made it kind of ok with me, was "IRT" being on the top of it. At the very least (a minimum-minimum), it's an indirect point to us. Go to IRT site or Facebook page, etc., See images. We get some play. Some indirect ROI. I can be cool with that.

Then yesterday, I saw this one.


I've only been playing indoor regularly since my trip to Mexico on the Gearbox bus. I've been really getting into it and am often feeling good on the court. Yesterday, thinking about this made me almost want to stop, get dressed and just head out. I didn't feel it. Made me feel a bit disheartened, because I knew I needed, for me, to talk about it today.

Every time I see something like this, on an event website, a poster, a newspaper article, back-doored by photos taken from our outlets and not referenced, or have a link to us or aren't the black and white watermarked photos, whatever... I may not say anything, but it's there. I remember. In actuality, I paid for part of the above ad and all the other stuff I just mentioned. I invest in producing something and my ROI is drastically diluted and the value in what I do diminished. I endeavor to build things up here. But this kind of thing is another check on the "Why NOT To Do What I Do" column." I'll add.. just as much as anyone, I understand this is a social age.

So I'm in these thoughts, then my friends walked on the court. I wasn't feeling competitive, but I was glad I wasn't alone on the court. So I put a smile on and just got into the spirit of encouraging them and enjoying the game, hit or miss. Eventually, I found myself back doing something I love to do. I was glad I was able to shake my initial feeling and get back to positive thoughts. It turned into great court time.

My genuine like for players in the photos aside, I'm a racquetball enthusiast. I'm a consumer. I use racquets. I become engaged in conversations about them. And this hit me with a negative personal feeling and worse, almost made me feel like not playing. How things are done matters.

I also do what I do. Last I checked, some people read my blog.

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