(AP PHOTO/CP, Paul Chiasson) courtesy Yahoo images
The other day, national sports radio host Bob McCown did his controversialist thing when he insisted the only reason to watch womens’ sports was for “the eye candy.” His point, though I’m not convinced he actually believes it, was layered. Woman athletes have bought into a marketing around their sports that increasingly demands shorter, tighter outfits and an overt sexuality. Check out any recent ad featuring tennis great Maria Sharipova as an example.
As well, women sports enthusiasts have not supported professional womens’ sports to anywhere near the degree they support mens’ sports — an accurate assertion, I think (compare crowds for the NBA and WNBA), though the economic reasons for this are more complex than McCown suggests. Not mentioned, though equally accurate I think, is the fact that any appreciation of sports has a semi-sexual element to it. Certainly anyone attracted to men enjoys the eye candy of mens’ sports, while also appreciating the other elements that make sport attractive… competition, physical grace and skill, overcoming adversity, heroism, etc.
Well, I’m not sure even the crusty McCown could fault tonight’s tennis match in Montreal between defending Rogers Cup champion Kim Clijsters and Canadian upstart and Laval native Stephanie Dubois. In terms of skill and experience, Clijsters was a goliath in this match, and she showed it with an easy first set win. But Dubois is a battler, and she held her own through pure skill and determination in the early games of the second set. And then something gave out in Clijsters’ left wrist. She had it attended to, and continued on, but the injury eventually proved too much. Dubois broke back to lead the set, Clijsters withdrew and to everyone’s surprise the Canadian Dubois is now in the round of 16, having made her way past one of the world’s best.
Stunned by the result, Dubois managed enough poise to give a graceful interview in English during which she did little else but praise her opponent. Easily the first big test as a professional athlete for this 19 year old, and she did exactly nothing wrong, showing flashes of brilliance on the court that bode well for Canadian tennis into the future.
And, oh yeah, she’s good-looking.