September 2, 2018

Unstoppable: 3 Examples, part 1



 “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.”—Proverbs 31:25 (KJV)

The Lady in Proverbs 31

This paragon of virtue may seem like an unrealistic ideal to some of us. It’s easy to wonder how anyone can be so perfect. Here’s a summary of her traits:

Virtuous
Strong
Honorable
Prized above rubies
Charitable
Excellent wife and mother
Hard working
Good Seamstress
Trustworthy

To me, she conjures up the stay-at-home mother portrayed on 1950s TV whose hair and make-up is flawless. She did housework in high heels, pearls, and her best dress. But that’s not all! She also solved her family’s problems and cooked three-course meals every day.

 I’m thinking, “Really?”, as I see such women in re-runs. “The producers of similar shows wouldn’t want to see what I look like when I cook, clean and garden.”

Do such peerless females exist? Some scholars say Solomon, the main writer of the Book of Proverbs, may have been describing his own mother.

The subject of the passage isn’t nearly as important as the message. The underlying meaning to me is not necessarily that women must be perfect. A deeper theme is that women keep everything regarding the home flowing and functioning.  They’re often the foundation of the household. 

The influence of mothers should not be underestimated.

 Modern Examples of Strength

Today, I’m beginning a series of at least three articles about disregarded people. They all broke numerous barriers.  If my examples are mainly women, transpose them onto any undervalued group or individual. The remainder of this writing will concentrate on two female sports figures.


Babe Didrikson Zaharias (June 1911-September 1956)

This powerhouse began as a track and field athlete. She won two gold medals in the 1932 Summer Olympics. Those were the days before celebrity endorsements and talk shows. Her success in amateur sports didn’t help her pay the bills.

Didrikson was a woman of many talents. She created a one-woman Vaudeville (variety) show in which she played a harmonica. The performance was only a limited sensation. Once the novelty wore off, the public lost interest.

Babe again re-invented herself. Golf was a popular sport. Professional golfers were respected and well paid. The athlete didn’t know much about the game, but she was a quick learner.

The problem was that the sport was dominated by men—unsurprisingly. That didn’t deter the champion. Babe was a founding member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). She won 10 championships in the league. Not bad for a lady who didn’t know much about the game at first!


Billie Jean King (b. Nov. 1943)

This amazing lady is the former top professional female tennis player. She won 39 grand-slam titles. She is still looked upon as a role model by stars of the sport, such as the Williams sisters. King has also been a consistent advocate for gender equality and social justice.

The athlete’s most notable accomplishment remains winning “The Battle of the Sexes” against Bobbie Riggs. It was the most memorable tennis competition of the century, held in 1973. King’s success was a huge step forward for equal treatment among genders. Until that time, female tennis pros had been making thousands of dollars less than their male counterparts.  

By the early 70s, the 29-year-old King was already a polished tennis champion. Riggs, the challenger, was a 55-year-old self-styled chauvinist. He believed that a woman couldn’t beat him under any circumstances.  Billie Jean showed the guy with the toupĂ©e (I think) and the “Women belong in the kitchen!” attitude how much he had to learn.

My Conclusion

 “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”—Billie Jean King

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“It’s not just enough to swing at the ball. You’ve got to loosen your girdle and really let the ball have it.”—Babe Didrikson Zaharias

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How are you breaking man-made barriers to your success?