Tuesday, December 11, 2012

#324 Billie Jean

Yesterday I attended The Power of Women’s Philanthropy, an event put on by Women’s Fund of Central Indiana held at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. Women’s Fund invests in the lives of women and girls, and teaches philanthropy to children from birth to age 18 through various programs.

The featured speaker was Billie Jean King. Being an avid tennis fan, I jumped at the chance to go to this event when I found out my work had some open seats.

She gave a good talk and below are things that stuck with me.

  • At age five she told her mother she was going to do something great with her life.
  • She quit playing softball and at age 12 she bought her first tennis racquet for $8.29.
  • She was playing in a tournament as a young girl and noticed that everything was white. Her shoes, her tennis outfit; even the balls were white. She looked around and asked herself, "Where is everybody else?"  She decided right then that tennis would be her platform to promote equal rights for girls and boys.
  • She gets annoyed when people come up to her and thank her for what she’s done for women’s tennis. She said no one would ever think of going up to John McEnroe and thanking him for what he’s done for men’s tennis. People would just thank him for what he’s done for tennis. Her goal was to make things better for everyone, not just women.
  • Basketball was her first love.
At the end of her talk she hit signed tennis balls into the crowd with a racquet while “Philadelphia Freedom” played on the sound system. (Elton John wrote that song for her when she was playing on the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team.)  I caught one!  (Are you surprised, with my long arms?)  I also helped a co-worker get one. 

It was a very nice event and I went away feeling a little more inspired to do more in my community to make it a better place for everyone, girls and boys alike. 

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