Friday, November 7, 2008

Give them a hand

If you were watching some of the matches at the recent US Open, then you may have heard Joe Lee's enthusiastic support during some of them. Lee was a strong supporter of Cliff Swain during his match with Shai Manzuri, and also of Jimmy Lowe during the CPRT final against Woody Clouse.

Lowe and Lee are friends, and after winning the CPRT final, Lowe thanked Lee for his support. Lee, who's a three time US Open champion in 55+ (2006-2008), was sometimes over the top in his vocal support (he and Clouse actually got into a bit of a shouting match at one point in the CPRT final), but really he stands out because he cheers and others don't. Period.

Racquetball is played in a box, so the players are separated from the crowd. Thus, the crowd can be detatched from the play. It's easy for crowd members to have conversations during rallies, especially at the US Open when players on the show court are several feet (at least) away from any spectators. That doesn't happen at tennis matches.

And that kind of behavior diminishes the importance of the matches. If people aren't paying full attention to a match, it suggests they don't care about it much. You can say what you will about Lee's cheering, but you can't say he doesn't care about the matches he's watching.

Now, maybe you're saying to yourself, but I'm not as vocal as Joe Lee. I just don't have that in me. But I do want to show my support for the players. Does The Racquetball Blog have an answer for me? Yes, we do.

We suggest clapping after the match. Every match. Regardless of whether it's Women's D, Men's B doubles, juniors or the pros. Applaud. Show your support for those playing.

It's not easy to put yourself on display in a tournament, and it can be especially difficult for those who come out on the losing end. But they all deserve your support. These are your fellow racquetball enthusiasts, so you should support them. Don't you want to be hear the applause after your match? Of course you do.

So show them the way.

We'd like nothing better than to hear clapping after every match at the next tournament we attend, or to hear about tournaments where this happens. We can do this.

Yes, we can.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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