Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Billie Jean King Spat on My Mama

The headline may at first seem a joke.  It most assuredly is not.

In the early 70’s my “Mama,” an accomplished tennis player on the state level, was a linesman for professional tennis tournaments around Dallas.  She was also quite a fan of Billie Jean King.  Being somewhat precocious, I detected King was not worthy of adulation.  I liked Chris Evert instead.  Hey, Evert was very cute back then, and her accomplishments gave me an excuse to hit a two-handed backhand.  That and lacking the arm strength and coordination to hit a traditional one-handed backhand well.

Anyway, one night Mama came home from being a linesman for a Dallas match in which one of the players was Billie Jean King herself.  My mom was quiet and bewildered.  And she told me King was so mad at one of her line calls that she spat on her. My memory is not clear whether she thought the spitting was intentional or accidental.  And Mama was not angry or crying.  But she was bewildered that her heroine would do that to her.  It was not unlike a kid let down by a hero.

Now is it possible that King, who did have a temper, inadvertently sprayed on my mom while arguing the call?  Yes.  But remember that King was a heroine of my mom’s.  One would think my mom would have put a better interpretation on the incident.  But perhaps her heroine being so angry at her shook her up so much, it was hard for her to put any ameliorating spin on it.  In any case, King at the very least humiliated my mom for doing her job as best she could.

What brings this episode to mind?  Billie Jean King is co-chairing Lesbians4Hillary just launched yesterday.

If Hillary wants the support of someone like Billie Jean King, she can be my guest.  As far as I’m concerned, both have been spitting on America for a long time. 


Mari said...

Spitting is so low class.
BJK might have been spittin' mad.

Mark said...

She certainly was that.