It's a THROWBACK: the "Battle of the Sexes" revisited...RIGGED by Riggs?
this sports illustrated article explores speculation that bobby riggs, a former tennis grand slam champion and notorious hustler, purposely threw the 1973 "battle of the sexes" match against billy jean king in order to gain bigger dividends via gambling. the competition was prompted by certain remarks by riggs to the media. riggs expressed his opinion that an average senior male player could easily beat any top female player of any age or level. that was one thing. but riggs also said, ''women belong in the bedroom and kitchen, in that order,'' according to selena roberts in her book a necessary spectacle: billie jean king, bobby riggs, and the tennis match that leveled the game. billie jean king won the match and a $100,000 purse. bobby riggs was 55 at the time of the contest, while king was 29 years old.
i'm a little confused by the significance of the "battle of the sexes" spectacle from 1973. what was the point? to prove that the top female player, who still trains full-time, is better than a retired male player,who remains moderately active in the senior ranks? granted, the corporeal effects of the spectacle were immediately evident. the "battle of the sexes" generated press that certainly aided some facets of the women's sports movement. since media attention often leads to money, the spectacle was a small "victory" in the battle against the significant disaparity between men's and women's sports in terms of prize money and salary amounts, etc. these monetary amounts are usually relative to the interest in the event or competition which can arguably be measured by the publicity it "earns."
however, i think portraying the 1973 "battle of the sexes" as a landmark because it proved that female tennis players are "just as good" or "on the same level" as male tennis players is a little too vague and ambiguous. this causes people to virtually miss the point. athletes are entertainers. female athletes aren't as athletic as male athletes. but this doesn't mean that female athletes are not on the same level as males in terms of their capacity to create sports entertainment. athletic superiority alone doesn't create better drama. after all, that's what sports entertainment is. drama. theater. well, maybe reality television is a better comparison. chance, luck, and coincidence permeate every sportscenter highlight reel. i personally would watch ncaa basketball over the nba anyday. granted, my personal preference for sports entertainment is by no means universal paradigm. but that's kind of my point. there isn't one.