BABES IN TOYLAND
If you're a young woman with a terrific backhand who's interested in making it in the wonderful world of pro tennis, you'll be pleased to learn that it's not entirely a jungle out there. Lots of people are willing and eager to help, particularly those kindly folk of the Women's Tennis Association. They've put out a booklet for young players called Getting Started, which is filled with all sorts of helpful info about travel ("Nonstop flights do not stop") and tournaments and membership dues and agents and endorsements ("Always speak well of the products you endorse!").
We were particularly caught by a section called "Making the Most of the Media." Aspiring sportswriters and radio/TV people can learn about their craft in journalism school, but somehow it never occurred to us that people can be taught the other side of journalism—not how to get a story, but how to be a story.
Getting Started takes care of that. "What kind of image do you want to portray?" it asks its earnest young readers. "Glamorous? Athletic? Businesslike? Intellectual? Whatever your image, make sure it is one that the press will latch on to in a positive way.... When the press sees you, you will be creating a total impression which could be significant to your image.... You will be the player who gets the 'ink' if you are a unique story. For example: 'Player works nights to continue in the game,' 'Daughter of Olympic Gold Medalist wins first round,' 'Student of nuclear physics stars in Boise.' One player, conscious of not having a tale to tell, created a harmless one, announcing that her mother was a concert pianist.... You would do well to create an 'angle' for yourself. A good alternative to this approach is to win an awful lot of tournaments."
That last sentence strikes us as an especially good suggestion. We also like one other bit of advice: "Be tolerant toward sportswriters...you must be prepared to explain things." Especially if you're a nuclear physicist starring in Boise.