Every day in history is like a snowflake from heaven’s snowflake garden. It’s unique and it is fragile. Put it in your brain before it melts. This is what happened on September 20, 1973…
On September 20, 1973, Billy Jean King (a lady) defeated Bobby Riggs (a fella) in a game of tennis… in the Astrodome. Looking back, it is hard to see what the big deal was– this event featured the best women’s tennis player in the world versus a 55 year-old man. Granted, Riggs was a former number one men’s tennis player. Still, he was 55 years-old. Even if the Guffaw was alive on September 19, 1973, and had no knowledge of the future the entire piggybank would have been wagered on Billy Jean King. If Serena Williams plays John McEnroe, the little Guffaw’s college savings are going on Serena.
King won “The Battle of the Sexes” in three sets. The Astrodome, a big place, was packed. King entered on a golden chair and Riggs entered on a rickshaw pulled by female models. Maybe tennis should do this more often or have the players wear capes, just spit balling. The match was broadcast live on television and play-by-play was done by legendary sports announcer Howard Cossell.
In 1973, if this is what was needed to give validation to women as athletes then job well done Billy Jean King. Today, are women athletes as popular and marketable as their male counterparts? No, but they do have a much larger slice of the pie. It is weird that it took Billy Jean King making Bobby Riggs chase a yellow ball around to make it happen.