The Whole Pie

By now you’ve ascertained that I’m a bit of a documentary geek.  It’s something I’ve acquired late in life.  Years ago, you wouldn’t catch me alive watching a program I could actually learn something from.  Well, with the exception of the Jacques Cousteau films.  They were always pretty cool to watch and it didn’t seem like I was larnin’ anything.

Fast forward to present day and my aversion to docs has disappeared.  I happened to catch one a few weeks ago that really caught my interest.  It was about the career of Billie Jean King.  I’m old enough to remember the primetime Battle of the Sexes with Billie Jean and Bobbie Riggs.  Tennis was exploding at that time.  Both of my parents had picked it up, although my Dad soon abandoned it for his beloved golf.  My Mom was played regularly even through her pregnancy with my brother until a hyper-extended knee put an end to that.  All of us kids were in a junior league.  Me, less enthusiastically than the other.  That court was HUGE and you had to run around it.  Meh.

Anywho, Billie Jean’s rise in the ranks and the public consciousness came at a very interesting time for women.  She was the first person to kind of challenge the idea that women’s tennis was very ladylike.   Heck that women’s sports weren’t a serious endeavor.  This was several years before Title IX came into play and women in sports were an afterthought to the “real” sports.  Read “men’s” sports.

In the doc, she talks about the match and the significance it held.  All of this was lost to me at that time.  I was old enough to be aware of it but really didn’t understand the significance.  So all this backstory information was fascinating.  The film did a great job of framing how things were for female athletes in those days.  What I didn’t know was there was a previous match with Riggs and Margaret Court whom he roundly beat thus forcing Billie Jean to step up after she’d already said no to the match the first time.

Her drive and ambition to be successful and elevate women and women’s sports against tide of “not gonna happen here” mentalities is truly inspiring.  One thing she said during the film was “girls were taught to be satisfied with the crumbs men gave them.  I wasn’t happy with that.  I wanted the whole pie”

Hmmm.  The whole pie.  Sounds pretty good.  I’ll have that as well.

Pretty Good Progress

Today is the 4th of July.  I’m kind of dork when it comes to this day.   The parades make me smile, especially the one that just went down the street with tricycles, strollers and doggies on leashes all decked out in red, white and blue.  Patriotic music chokes me up.  It’s just something about the way the notes come together that really puts a lump in my throat.  And don’t even get me started when I see a Veteran wearing his uniform or his cap.  I can remember 34 years ago when we celebrated our bicentennial and how proud we all were. 200 years sounded like such a long time.  This was put into perspective when I spent the summer in France studying and I stayed in a hotel that was 107 years older than our country.  We really are such a young country.  And it is truly quite amazing how far we’ve come in those 234 years.  We went from being a scrapping colony to the only leading superpower in that time.  It took a lot of hard work, quite a bit of civil strife, tolerance and dedication to get to this point but here we are.  And we continue to evolve.  Which is ever so hopeful.  I am very proud of this country, warts and all.  We aren’t perfect, but we keep trying.

Makes you wonder, if this Titanic we call the United States can change that much in 234 years, what can one person do with the same hard work, tolerance and dedication to change their future?

Tour De Force

Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the premiere of the epic Civil War saga, Gone With the Wind.  Turner Classic Movies played the film in it’s entirety with no interruptions.  I happened to catch it just as Atlanta was falling to those Yankees.  So I missed some of my favorites scenes with the prettiest dresses at the beginning of the movie.  After all, what girl didn’t imagine herself at the barbeque in that beautiful green dress that her mammy deemed so inappropriate because it showed her shoulders before evening.  On top of that, she was surrounded by all the handsomest beaux in the county.  Truly a dream!

I promptly sat down and watched the remainder of the movie.  I still turned my eyes at the most difficult to watch scenes of war and suffering and this time turned the sound down.  But this time around, I was struck by how amazing the film was.  I don’t know if you know any of the history of this movie and all the difficulty that happened in trying to get it made.  The short end of the story is they went through multiple directors, many rewrites, budget issues, casting challenges.  You name it, they experienced it.  They even started filming before the role of Scarlett O’Hara was even cast.  But through it all, what remained was one of the most exciting, visually engaging and well produced films of history.  I’d forgotten how much I loved this movie.

I’d also forgotten the incredible writing that the film contained.  My favorite line comes at the end of the movie.  No not the one Clark Gable is remembered for, the classic “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”, but instead the one that Scarlett says after he leaves.  In her grief and sadness as she is trying to figure out her next step, she makes the statement that is my favorite-“Tomorrow is another day”.  I love this.  Tomorrow is another day, it is a new beginning, a new start, an opportunity to do the right thing and take the next chance.  That is the promise made to us.  We will have another go at it.  If we are lucky it will happen with beautiful clothes and fabulous lighting but if that isn’t the case, grab at it anyway with both hands and make the best of it.