Since the WPBA is apparently having an event this weekend, I wanted to visit the topic that people will undoubtedly complain about 6-8 weeks from now – clapping. Here’s how the discussions typically go:
First Post: Pool is on ESPN right now!!!
Second Post: I hate watching pool on ESPN. They provide the worst coverage.
Posts 3-10: Yeah! Pool on ESPN licks balls!!
Post 11: You mean like that one video where Shanelle Lorraine does that trick shot?
Posts 12-20: OMG! She’s so hot! She can rack my balls anytime!!
Post 21: We should be happy that there’s any pool on TV at all.
Posts 22-30: The announcers suck, the spectators clap on every shot. Its the suckiest suck that ever sucked. Why don’t they ever show the men on TV?
Post 31 through the death of the thread: Discussion about whether or not the WPBA pays ESPN to televise their matches.
Now there’s a lot to talk about here, but I’m going to talk about the clapping. This is something that is very misunderstood, so I wanted to clarify it based on my experiences (as I’ve been to a few of these events being a sponsor and all).
Whenever I’ve been at an event that’s being recorded for ESPN, the tour director says something along the lines of the following: “This match is going to be shown on ESPN, so if you want to be on TV, make some noise. If you see a good shot, be sure to clap and show some appreciation for these hard working world class ladies!”. Now of course this is not verbatim, as I haven’t been to an event in a while (the last one being the ill fated Colorado Classic), but you get the idea.
So why exactly does the audience appear to clap on every shot (or if not every shot, most of them)? Well, there are a few reasons behind this:
Reason #1: They want to get on TV and are given the impression that in order to get on TV, they need to clap.
Reason #2: They aren’t pool wonks, so what they think is a good shot is sometimes slop and what they think is a bad shot is actually a safety.
Reason #3: At pro sporting events, you clap and cheer when the person/team you like is doing well. This is no different.
Is Tipton telling the audience to clap after every shot? Of course not. Does the fact that he tells people to make some noise exacerbate the problem? Probably, but that’s sort of his job. The reality is that the typically televised WPBA audience breaks down like this:
I’m not hating here, this is just how it is. Most events are in casinos that are 1-2 hours outside of a major city, which means that the only people who are at the event are players, friends, family, die hards and gamblers. The casino and ESPN want to fill the stands, so many of the tickets are comped, which means a large number of people watching the event probably have no idea who the players are or what they’re watching. All they know is that at some point it will be on ESPN. There’s nothing wrong with this by the way. When you’re watching Jerry, Sally, Montel, Rikki, Geraldo or whoever the “I ain’t yo baby daddy” flavor of the month is, every person in that audience is getting in for free. The audience makes the show compelling. (In my former life, I’d make a crack here about streaming, but you know, new leaf and all.)
The other thing to keep in mind? If it wasn’t for these people clapping, no one would clap at all. With the exception of the Mosconi Cup, no one seems to clap much at all when it comes to pro pool. When the events aren’t televised, 90% of the audience is made up of other pool players who simply snap when a good shot is made, so at best, you have an event that sounds like a 60s beatnik poetry slam. I know the snapping is done to avoid distracting the players at the other tables, but let’s look once again at our good friend the PGA. When Rory McIlroy drains a 20 foot birdie (I can’t use Tiger or Lefty here because no one really roots for Tiger anymore and no one ever rooted for Mickelson) the crowd goes freaking bonkers. It doesn’t matter that the tee box is in many cases about 20 yards from the green. It isn’t that the crowd is disrespecting the guy on the next tee, they’re just really into it. If that happens at a pro event though, all other players stop what their doing and look around in pain and/or disgust. Because you know it’s always so quiet when they’re playing 5 ahead action matches at Rusty’s crap shack.
How’s about this? Instead of bitching about how awful the TV coverage and the spectators are, perhaps for once we should give thanks for the fact that pool is on TV at all, that there are enough people out there to fill the stands for a televised match (even if they’re giving the tickets away for free) and that the players will all go home with a check they can cash instead of a handshake and an IOU.
As for the bulbous belly straight talk express check in, I was a slackass and didn’t get a run in this morning. Gonna try and get one done this afternoon, but it’s gonna be hot today.