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EleoStarting tomorrow, Monday April 4th, I will be giving myself this challenge for the entire month.  Please feel free to join me.  I’m basing this on Cynthia Coopers play, “How She Played the Game”. Venus read the play in 2002 and spent several  years touring it as a solo work.  It focuses on six incredible athletes that should never have been erased.  So, if you’d like to remember them with me this month, please take up the challenge.

We’ll be opening an international premiere in May and anyone who has committed to and completed the challenge will get a free ticket to the show.  Scouts honor.  Feel free to comment and I’ll put this on Facebook as well for comments and photos.

Here it is:

EVERY MORNING BABE DIDRIKSON

MORNINGS ARE FOR BABE:  set your alarm 30 minutes early and log in 2 miles before your morning shower.  If you miss it you can use all day to make it up.  Run, jog, walk, or crawl but this is the central challenge and should happen Mon-Fri everyday.

There is no doubt that Babe Didrickson is one of the greatest athletes who has ever lived.  She played every sport.  In her later years she loved golf.  She played baseball.  She single handedly won a basketball championship.  In fact, in 1932 she competed in 8 events at the AAU meet which also served as the Olympic try-outs and she WON SIX OF THEM!  Her trainer Colonel McCombs told the press:  “She has no equal.  Her only fault…is that she unconsciously and unknowingly overtrains…”.  His training for her was to have her get up and run two miles before breakfast.  Eat/Shower/Dress then spend the day in the field training for every event in which she would compete.  There were ten.

“She won the shot put and long jump, and broke the world record in the javelin, the baseball throw, the 80-meter hurdles, and the high jump. Her overall point total amounted to 30, eight more than the entire 22-woman University of Illinois team.”

AFTERNOONS WITH ELEANOR, ALTHEA, TRUDY, SONJA, or GRETEL

AFTERNOON DELIGHT!  most of these women were olympians.  You can google them or order Cindy’s play to learn more.  This is a great parent child activity by the way.  These athletes trained several hours a day and in our world you don’t likely have that kind of time.  So, here are some options that can also be effective as weekend events with the family.  They should last 45 minutes, minimum.  I’m designating days here but feel free to shuffle them around, print them out, cut them into slivers, and put them into an activity jar and have someone pick randomly, if you like.

ELEANOR SEARS MONDAY

Add a 45 minute walk after dinner.  Set your mind to the challenge by envisioning some obstacle in your way and every Monday, simply walk beyond it.

alternate:  go horseback riding.

There’s not a ton known about Eleo because she is the furthest out in the time line.  Her name keeps popping up here and there and slowly we learn more and more about her.  On a dare she walked and won the right to wear pants.  She also played polo and was an all around sports woman.

ALTHEA GIBSON TUESDAY

Put off immediate homework plans in the late afternoon and hit around a tennis ball for 45 minutes before dinner.

Althea won Wimbleton long before the William’s sisters were around.  She was also a recording artist.  Parties were held in her honor and often she was not allowed to attend them due to racism.  Althea grew up in the streets of Brooklyn and had quite a temper. She tended to get into fistfights.  A trainer spotted her and taught her how to “beat the liver and lights out of the ball.”

GERTRUDE EDERLE WEDNESDAY

Get in the water.  45 minutes moving in it.  Walk, swim laps, tread water.  45 minutes before you get home from work or school.

Trudy loved to swim.  I met her only one month before her passing at the age of 98 and she referenced the downpour outside saying she could swim on the sidewalk.  She told me as a child she’d jump in the Hudson River at Sandy Hook and swim to Jersey and back for fun. She swam the English Channel breaking the records of the three men before her by hours…in a storm…swimming extra miles…


SONJA HENIE THURSDAY

Get snobby.  Feel pretty.  Do something delicious that may cause others to scoff at you.  Take a dance class and wear tights proudly on Thursdays.

alternate: put on 45 minutes of your favorite music and jump around your living room after giving yourself a make-over.

Sonja was around before Barbie.  She was wealthy.  As a girl in Norway, she wanted to keep up with her big brother who seemed to live in his hockey skates.  So she did.  She also took ballet and was a wonderful dancer.  One day on the frozen pond not far behind her brother she mixed the two and began ice dancing.  At the Olympics her skirt was too short and her style was outside of the guidelines.  She finished last and was humiliated.  She was known to be competitive and stuck to an incredibly rigid daily routine.  Her pre-performance ritual included sleeping in her hotel room until her manager/Father sent a car to pick her up exactly 1/2  hour before she had to be on the ice.

GRETEL BERGMANN (MARGARET LAMBERT) FRIDAY

Run and jump.  Find an outdoor obstacle course and challenge yourself to face whatever seems impossible.

Gretel was not able to compete in the Olympics because they were in Germany and she was Jewish.  Hitler allowed her to stay and train and think she would compete until the US announced that they would indeed be a part of the games.  This was 1936, the year Jesse Owens made his triumphant victory.  Gretel wasn’t allowed to train on Aryan facilities but was kept in cut off shorts to train in the potato fields.

“The Women’s Olympic High Jump gold medalist three weeks later equaled Bergmann’s German record mark. Without the Jewish High Jumper, Germany’s remaining women jumpers finished third and fourth in the event. (The fourth-place finisher would reveal 30 years later that she was a man.)”


We stand on amazing shoulders.  Everyone has a fascinating story to tell.  I’d LOVE to hear yours.

I’ll see you at Venus Theatre in May.

Treat yourself like the beautiful woman that you are and remember them, do them proud, don’t hold back now!!!

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