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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Babe Conquers the World

Babe Conquers the World: The Legendary Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias by Rich Wallace and Sandra Neal Wallace
published by Boyd's Mill Press

The Blurb

Babe Didrikson Zaharias had one driving goal: to become the greatest athlete who ever lived. And she made good on that promise with a meteoric rise to famed basketball player, Olympic medalist, and top female golfer. But there was more to Babe than just sports. Noted novelists and sportswriters Rich and Sandra Wallace expose the many controversies surrounding this famous female athlete—her upbringing, personality, marriage, and even her early death. This action-packed story of a womanESPN ranks as #10 of the top North American athletes of the twentieth century also includes personal and professional photographs, quotes, a bibliography, and an index.

My Two Cents

Prior to reading this book, I knew very little about Babe.  I knew she was an athlete, but I had no idea about the world records she broke, the championships she won, or the strides she made toward a more equal footing for women to compete in sports.  If you are unfamiliar with the life of Zaharias, you need to pick this one up.

"Babe Didrikson Zaharias wasn't a feminist and she wasn't considered feminine.  Babe wanted to be the world's greatest athlete.  Her unstoppable drive changed sports for women."

As I made my way through the book, I was absolutely amazed at her accomplishments.  She challenged anything that got in her way--and she won!

No one could argue that her athletic prowess was beyond words--unfortunately her sportsmanship seemed to be lacking!  She had trouble making friends with teammates, and oftentimes one-upped them, intimidated them, and downplayed their skills.  She was brash, unpolished, and unladylike, and she didn't seem to care one little bit.  She only cared about her athletic career.

As impressive as her athleticism way, the most amazing thing I learned about Babe was that she had cancer and that she just treated it like another opponent.  In a time when no one really spoke about cancer, she was open about it.

"Babe spoke openly about her cancer.  She made the public aware of the disease...Babe gave cancer patients a voice...Babe's approach to cancer was as radical as the surgery she needed to remove it."

The bottom line is that Babe Didrikson Zaharias was a fighter.  She was fearless.  And though she was personally a bit difficult, in the end she used her fame to shine light on cancer and enable those fighting for their lives to have a bit more hope.

I am a bookworm.  I am no athlete by any stretch of the imagination!  That being said, I did finish the bulk of this book while on the treadmill!  Though I'll never hold a world title to anything sports related, this book did inspire to get this old body in shape.  Apparently, Babe is still motivating women today!