Saturday, August 09, 2008

Cheerleaders in Tennis? You Bet! 

Posted by Sasha at 5:03 PM ET

The WTT pro league is - duh - a league for professional tennis players. It was founded in 1977 by Billie Jean King, who even I've heard of. There are eleven teams in the league. The teams are co-ed and include anywhere from 4ish to 12ish player. The best team name is - hands down - the Boston Lobsters. There seem to be some big deal players in this league including Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe, Venus Williams and Serena Williams. The others could be rock stars in the tennis world as well, but I don't recognize their names.

(Sidebar: Gabriela Navratilova also plays in the league. No, she's not related to Martina, though both are from the Czech Republic. (Can you imagine how many times she gets asked if they're related? It must be maddening.)

But I did not bring you here to bore you with my extensive knowledge of the game. I brought you here to tell you yes. There are cheerleaders for professional tennis, and the WTT pro league has 'em.

It used to be only the Houston Wranglers tennis team had cheerleaders. Those cheerleaders - but for fabric color - looked markedly similar to the Dallas Desperados Dancers. I can't tell you what they did at the games. As far as I know there are no sidelines in tennis. There's no half-time. The crowd never does the wave. Alls I know is I've seen pictures of the cheerleaders, and I knew that's what they were because they had pom poms. I defy you to show me one group of people standing around an athletic even in matching outfits with poms who aren't cheerleaders. Or pretending to be cheerleaders. Or heavily influenced by cheerleaders in some way.

Right, so the Wranglers had cheerleaders. Sadly, the Wranglers are with us no longer, having gone defunct earlier this year. But fear not, sports fans! There are still 11 other teams in league, and now one of them has a dance team. Ladies and gents, I give you the Washington Kastles Cheerleaders:

My theory is this: Serena Williams is the Kastles marquee player. Lots of people come to see her. The Kastles feel they need to give the fans a little extra razzle dazzle, in the form of cheerleaders and a team mascot (a giant tennis ball named Topspin).

The Kastles Cheerleaders are dressed very similarly to the tennis players themselves. Perhaps the point of this is to visually confuse the opponent. I have no idea. The point is, they exist.

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