Speaking on Shrieking
More than ever, sports commentators seem to think that general knowledge lies in the act of being given a microphone and a television audience. This misconception has now invaded the world of tennis commentators. The recent rants by Carillo, Stubbs, and Navratilova, regarding female shrieking and grunting, come to mind. Actually, boggle the mind is more accurate, especially since these women of the tennis world are among the best ever at what they do; however, these commentators launched a totally subjective campaign against the female on-court shriek. There are several problems with this –
- The “survey” of fan opinion quoted by Carillo has no merit. By her own admission, she “talked to a guy.”
- Their perspective is sexist. Silence is no less golden (females) than tugging at underwear is unattractive (males).
- They are tennis analysts; not psychologists or physiologists. It is rather common knowledge that expelling air forcefully from the lungs assists in maintaining rhythm, concentration, and calming nerves. It has also been said, by real sports physiologists, that it helps in putting power into the shot; like smashing the ball with the force of the lungs.
- The endless diatribe on this subject detracts from watching the matches on television and the otherwise high quality work of these superb commentators.
We really don’t need commentators (or anyone else) to monitor on-court rituals that are a natural part of a player’s game. Some we like; some we don’t. Nevertheless, every player has some sort of ritual, none of which needs to be regulated or subjected to subjective sanction.
I think it’s safe to assume that the objectives on any player’s list do not include annoying the fans or the commentators, especially with on-court rituals, so everyone just needs to lighten up!
- Henrietta West, total tennis zealot