Yesterday, while performing my job doing layout for the newspaper India-West, I came across an interesting brief on the sports page. From IANS by way of IW’s May 29 edition, in a story headlined “Kohli Among Top Marketable Athletes,” we learn that SportsPro magazine has compiled a list of the world’s most marketable athletes. The article states:
Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard tops the list, followed by Brazilian football star Neymar and Masters golf champion Jordan Spieth.
My reaction to this nugget of news: “Huh?” Not for the inclusion of Neymar and Spieth in the top three; Spieth catapulted himself to the top of the visibility heap by winning the Masters, and whatever you think of soccer, it makes sense one of that game’s leading lights would be highly marketable around the world. But Eugenie Bouchard?
Yes, Bouchard was last year’s women’s Wimbledon semifinalist, and has had a few nice runs in other majors–but her cumulative record of accomplishment on the WTA Tour amounts to one tournament win. That’s right: one (1) win, in a minor, French Open warm-up tournament (in 2014 at the Nürnberger Versicherungscup). One can argue that her results show promise, but that doesn’t mean her promise will be fulfilled. As if to confirm that fact, mere minutes after setting the above mentioned story in IW’s sports section, I happened on the news that Bouchard had made a quick exit at this year’s French Open. Apparently, this is just the most recent struggle for Bouchard, who has not been living up to all that potential lately.
So how is this girl the most marketable athlete in the world? Well, she’s young and a hot chick; that helps immensely. And the folks at SportsPro are undoubtedly projecting into the future, expecting Bouchard to become the champion their greedy hearts hope she will be.
But she’s not there yet. Sport is supposed to be about a couple of things: competition and winning. Winning matters. Your idea that so-and-so is going to win, someday, eventually, should have no play in this world. Let Bouchard prove herself with some titles before you start making her an unavoidable presence in our media landscape. Because if this girl doesn’t win a bunch of titles, but I wind up incessantly seeing her on my TV anyway, the only thing you’ll accomplish is getting to turn away from that screen and find something legitimate to do with my time. Please–I’m disgruntled enough as it is.
In Henry VI, Part 2, Shakespeare has Dick the Butcher say, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Had old Will been able to peer into the future, he might have had Dick add, “And while we’re at it, let’s stick a shiv into all the marketers, too.”