I attended Billie Jean King's presentation last night as part of the Smart Talk Connected Conversation Series.
Let me start with the experience of arriving in downtown Cincinnati, on St. Patrick's Day, at rush hour. It was madness. A sea of green. People enjoying themselves and some, clearly plain drunk! This made parking a bit harder than expected but I found a spot, briefly chatted with my friend Amy by phone, who was meeting me, and within 10 minutes we had our tickets in hand from Will Call and were headed to dinner at Bootsy's.
Jeff Ruby is a restaurateur extraordinaire in these parts and Bootsy's did NOT disappoint. Truly one of the tastiest meals I have had in years. We chose several items from the tapas menu and they were all super delicious. I have already googled how to make tomato confit, so I can try to copy the Margarita Flatbread. Amy had her favorite sushi rolls but I just could not seem to go there, plus, I do not now how to use chopsticks.
We headed across the street and found our seats and saw a short fashion show presented by Fabulous Furs (faux furs) and let me tell you, these garments have been places: Sex and the City, the Miss Universe Pagaent and they have been featured in many magazines. And hey, the catalog even shows faux fur leg warmers!
Next, Carol Williams introduced Billie Jean King who was a very comfortable and engaging speaker. She truly is a legend and has helped for women's tennis, for women's sports in general, to make GREAT strides. I think her most compelling message is her dedication to equality. Her goal is not to elevate just female sports, but sports as a whole. Her goal is for everyone to work and play together but receive equal pay and treatment. It is a good message. When asked who inspires her, who she considers a legend, her immediate response was Reverend Bob Richards. Carol then asked who who she admired in sports and she responded with Althea Gibson and also Arthur Ashe.
Although she works quite avidly behind the scenes in the world of tennis, her current passion is Micro Financing, with the objective being to help women overcome poverty. She is inspired by the book: Banker to the Poor and it's author. I had never heard of this idea before but it makes a lot of sense.
As for the legacy she would like to leave behind, she immediately responded that "we can decide for her" meaning the audience could designate her legacy. She then followed up with this:
-live each day
-be dedicated to your truth
-do what you love
Simple, yet poignant advice. Two other messages I took from her presentation:
-pressure is a privilege
I welcome the opportunity to see the next two speakers in this series, especially Diane Keaton.