Tuesday, February 03, 2004

y men (shud) watch women's sports

The other day I happened to watch 2 female colleagues of mine play what according to them was a game of shuttle. That made me wonder whether women sports were as interesting to watch as men's and hence this mail.

Lets analyze this a bit more. There have been women greats in many a sport. They have also been equally famous as their male counterparts. But the question here is whether the average audience watches them for their sports talent or for other reasons.

>From the late 80s and the early 90s, one can remember the sweaty Tee clinging to the Argentine tennis player Gabriela Sabatini. The latino sensation was so famous that there was a perfume released in her name in Steffi Graf's Germany (remember Steffi was number one then!). You can still see snaps of her on the internet sites dedicated to her. Now, its another tennis star Anna Kournikova's turn. No wonder she has earned more from modeling than as a tennis professional.

Yet another thing to be noticed is how the appearances of these female players change. I remember Martina Hingis playing in her first year as professional with the average teenager-next-door looks. She wins a Grand Slam and thats it, her looks changed to that of a model for TV advertising! Just to digress, the same can be said of male cricketers too. There sure is the dangling 10 sovereign gold necklace after a year of playing internatinal cricket. Talking of cricket, its the audience which is more interesting to watch. Mischievous cameramen turn their cameras onto barely clad ladies in South African & Aussie venues. Who can forget the dancing around the pole by an Aussie spectator in the 1992 World Cup? It was on par with any erotic dancer's in a StripTease bar. Another interesting thing was the focus on ear-rings shown in Sharjah which was in a way the precursor to the bags/belts trends being shown in FTV now. Henry Blofeld, that humourous commentator fell in love with these astonishing array of ear-rings and finally ended up collecting them. It sure must have cost him a lot, both monetarily and personally ;-)

While its protruding nipples on sweaty clinging-to-the-body T-Shirts and flying micro skirts revealing colored panties in tennis (who wants to watch booming aces by Roddick or Hewitt when such sexy rallies are available), its bare skin exposure in beach volleyball. Its a real treat to watch the long legged bikini-clad females fight it out on the sunny beach sands. But the same cannot be said of women track & field athletes as they aren't that sexy, have more of a masculine body and aren't as well endowed as say, Serena Williams.

One more sport to watch out for is water polo. We had instances of dress slippage in the last Olympics putting the cameramen in a dilemma whether to continue focussing on the event or not. Not to mention, there was no such dilemma on the TV watchers minds ;-)

One extreme sport where silicone injected breasts come into play is the popular women's wrestling. If you like hard muscled women wrestling their bodies over, its THE sport to watch. Somewhat less interesting are the regular morning work outs presented by women aerobic specialists.

Gymnastics is a pretty good sport to watch too. Who can forget the barely 13 year olds of Soviet Russia, China and USA fight it out in many an Olympics? The arching female body doing a difficult routine on a Horse Vault is a real treat to watch. No wonder Nadia Comaneci got a perfect 10 way back in the 70s and women gymnasts continue to dominate till date. Gymnastics has been one sport where women always score over men.

A rare sport to watch is figure skating. Its magical to see the guy carry the lady around on ice skates. The flowing music and the following spotlight add on to the effects.

So guys, the next time you buy a ticket or switch on to a sports channel, remember one thing, there's more to watch than watching the Men in Blue play fixed cricket matches.

(June 10, 2003)