Monday, March 05, 2007

All about the (Mr.) Benjamins, Vol. III

The kindly gentlemen at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club have finally entered the 21st century (although they are still insisting on white gear. Ah well, it is before Labor Day) and are now matching womens prize money with the men. It's a nice gesture, and done for no other reason, I suspect, than the silence the protests of players, fans and the Martha Burkes of the world. Don't get me wrong, it's about time. Know what else it's about time for? It's about time for the ladies to play five sets.
Tennis fans want tennis, for the hundredth time. And even if you're a Martina Hingis fan, it's really not fun to see her make a quarterfinal run -- if she's been on court for a grand total of 90 minutes through the first week. Naysayers complain that women aren't as fit as the men, that they can't hold up. Truth time: the women's field isn't as deep as it was the last time they were playing best-of-five sets. And as far as fitness goes, the women's top 10 right now aren't exactly couch potatoes. More to the point, the female players are as fit as ever. This seems the perfect time to experiment with best-of-five matches.
Now, on this topic, Billie Jean King scoffs, and says: "Entertainers don't get paid by the hour." Every word true, Billie. Quality has to count for something here. They don't get paid based on their sex either. Por ejemplo, male comedian, female comedian. They tell the same jokes, they get the same laughs. Right? Male tennis player, female tennis player. Women's matches take less time, because they're expected to perform for a shorter time. They get the same money. Think about it.
While women's equality is a fine goal to aspire to, we should seek it fully, warts (and work) and all. Those fans are putting out their hard-earned money, too. Give 'em a show.

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