Sunday, July 30, 2006

More unnecessary cheerleaders

Here I go again, back to that slippery slope of sport: cheerleading. Is it sport? Is it--well not sport I guess?
And yet again I refuse to fully take up the question here. But I do know that cheerleaders in World Team Tennis are wrong--just wrong.
I had never seen cheerleaders at WTT events before--but I haven't watched a lot of WTT so it's possible I have just missed them--though they seem pretty hard to miss. Today's airing of the contest between the Houston Wranglers and the Newport Beach Breakers on OLN (anyone know why OLN is changing its name to Versus? Versus what?) included shots of Houston's cheerleaders. I thought the whole point of WTT was that the fans become cheerleaders of sorts--ringing cowbells, yelling, bopping to music between points, etc. WTT philosophy espouses fan involvement where the fan can eschew the usual decorum associated with professional tennis and just let loose--similar to fan behavior at other professional events
Do we really need the cheerleaders to help us do all this? Does anyone really think the cheerleaders at professional football games influence fan involvement to such an extent that it has the ability to alter the outcome of the contest? No, of course not.
And yet here are the Wranglers hauling out their cheerleaders on the sidelines. (Click here for a peak at this year's "squad.")
My look at the other WTT teams suggests that the cheerleaders are unique to the Wranglers. (What is it about Texas and cheerleaders?) Or if there are other teams with cheerleaders they are certainly not as prominent as the Wranglers' who have a link from the team homepage that includes 2 wallpaper options that feature the cheerleaders.
I applaud Billie Jean King's venture and the idea that tennis should be more fan-friendly but do we really want to adopt completely the customs of more traditional professional sports?