Making A Racket -

Making A Racket

Publish date:

Watching the sound technician swing a shotgun mic from left to right, again and again, it almost seems like she’s mocking the spectator sport most likely to cause neck strain. But she’s just doing her job, capturing each thunk of the racket strings, followed by a grunt from the player and squeaks of rubber sole on hard court. She’s creating the sonic picture of a game some people find visually tedious. But tennis, like most things in life, requires a little bit of understanding before it can truly be appreciated.

Image placeholder title

It may appear as though the players are merely trying to keep the ball in flight, thwacking it back and forth over the net in an endless series of volleys, but there is in fact a strategic initiative in every hit. In some cases it is simply to run your opponent back and forth across the court, taxing his resources so that he can’t compete as efficiently later on in the match. But more often, it’s a calculated unveiling of a series of strikes which will culminate in one of any number of “winners,” as those shots are called when they pass the opponent by, or land beyond his reach, or simply cause him to get tangled up and mishit.

Put that way, the sport sounds a little like business. It may sometimes seem as though you’re merely going through the motions, keeping the revenue stream afloat. But the most successful members of this industry know that each hit means something, whether it’s early in the game with the efficient delivery of a proposal, or late in the match with a follow-up customer survey.

Even if some would label it a niche sport, tennis tournaments are proving quite lucrative in the struggling economy. Early last month, the U.S. Open drew record crowds and toptier sponsors. In fact, as reported in The New York Times, the U.S. Open has set attendance records four of the past five years and boasts sales numbers that echo that enthusiasm.

The Times went on to attribute the sales success of the tournament to the quality of its audience—dedicated fans that will endure rain, heat, and humidity to see 144-mile-an-hour serves from Rafael Nadal. Also, perhaps not surprisingly, the tennis crowd tends to be in a higher income bracket, a very attractive lure to advertisers.

Does your audience demonstrate that level of loyalty? If you discovered that many stakeholders stuck with you through the tough times, you should congratulate yourself on your game plan. If not, it may be time to add a few new shots to your game.


Image placeholder title

Making the Dunk of the Year

It took less than two seconds for the LA Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan to prepare, formulate, and execute one of the most aggressive slam-dunks of the NB A season earlier this spring.

Raise A Glass

Everyone has their talents. Usually they become apparent through education or exposure to the everyday career opportunities that exist in modern society. But imagine if you were born a few centuries too late and your natural talent was for a task that really wasn't required anymore. You might never discover this truly unique ability, and hence your life would always feel empty.

A Job Well Done

It seems the latest luxury item to adorn corporate lobbies is the somewhat inglorious hand-sanitizing station covered with interior-design friendly finishes such as faux brass or imitation marble. The sentiment seems to be that if they have to be there, and they probably do, then at least they can look like they were carefully and intentionally selected, rather than dropped off by some impersonal sanitization team.

Image placeholder title

Obstructed View

Bought the cheap tickets for a concert and your view is of a pillar? You’re not going to like the sound, either, and not just because of acoustic problems.

Image placeholder title

Rights of Passage

It may not seem like it when you’re desperately awaiting the arrival of a beverage cart on a long flight, but air travel is still fairly miraculous in its brevity.

Image placeholder title

Staying Sharp

Once expertise is gained in any arena, it becomes impossible not to be upset by shortcomings in that field.