A Sporting Woman!

by Teréza Eliasz-Solomon (HeiressMommy™)

Sporting woman blog post “But your Jewish!” said my dear, devoted and always helpful Italian-American housekeeper after greeting me as I returned from my fly-fishing weekend a few months after my first husband, David Colin passed away Spring 2001. Certainly nowhere near being antisemitic, I knew that Anita, like many thought it odd that I golf, play tennis, sail, and fly-fish – among other sports activities. Why is this odd? Well sadly and definitely erroneous are the preconceived notion that we well coiffed Jewish ladies do not engage in such strenuous activities. At least that is what I have gathered over the years, as others react more or less the same to my multiple physical athletic pursuits. Truth be told many – no make that most of my ilk do indeed go out for many exercise and physical type pursuits – school team sports only the beginning for my and others life long regiments. There are the wonderful example of Israeli women  – the beautiful, strong and athletic Sabras – serving their beloved nation in armed service obligations. So the question goes begging – why not fly-fish, sail, golf, play tennis, hike, swim, ride horses, etc., etc., etc.??? The answer is of course there is no REAL reason and damn it – I have and still do it all … maybe not always well nor at once but still with REAL heart, determination and joy!

I am a lessons – school for all things type of athlete. Whether in primary, high school, college or private – classes and lessons were an important part of my athletic tutorial. I believe in training and guidance from experts. Blessed to have parents who taught me being the best was not as nearly important as the participation in both team and individual sports activities. My very wise Mother was fond of explaining that maybe the Olympics nor a professional sports career was in my future but the joy of doing and the life long physical benefits were in my reach. So it went … family fishing – which by the way included my dear Father having a custom made child size rod placed in my 5 year old hand; swimming and such. School team sports a must and then the endless lessons began. No surprise that there were the little girl and onward dance lessons, gymnastics, swimming classes and bikes, bikes, bikes – followed by tennis, horse back riding that followed in my teen years. I began serious running and jogging at around 19 years old and to this day can not ever imagine giving that activity up – seeing myself as that 8o year old [G-d willing] taking 8 or 10 hours to finish a half marathon perhaps. Then in college I decided to take up golf – even took classes at my undergraduate Alma Mater, Temple University. Proud to say I reached intermediate levels in both tennis and golf within a few years of beginning those activities but alas, realized even though wanting and still participating  no desire to reach higher levels in either were in my plans. Once married in my twenties – I joined my sail boat owning first husband in that awe inspiring activity; yes I am certified to sail but I tell all who venture off shore with me to be sure others on our boat more readily able than I could ever hope to be. I have worked out at gyms – including well equipped home set ups for over 35 years [lifted weights, have done aerobics and machines of all sorts]; I do daily yoga and even pregnant do no less than a five day multiple disciplined/combined weekly routine – in past and now soon again with a personal trainer.  So you see – there was and is a very REAL part of my life that holds as important the sporting life and no matter little done or obsessively involved, I will and insist my children always include the glory and benefit of sports, exercise and the physical life.

Now there is another non standard chick part of my “sporting life” – that is I REALLY love football, baseball, basketball and soccer. Even Lacrosse is on my list of well viewed possibilities. I will watch and attend both as many as possible college and professional venues. All Olympics are on my MUST absolutely watch, read and discuss “to do” life list. I was at a few Olympics games and will go again. Not even liking television has never stop me from rearranging my very hectic schedule to watch those world iconic events. Odd I think not – I love sports and I am not to be denied on account of my gender. The history of women in sports and athletics is legendary. It is offensive and quite ignorant for anyone to find it REALLY unique that a woman like me – any woman – is rare to love the physical and competitive life that sports provides. Little known and not discussed enough are the female participators, purveyors and promoters of sports. Surely you have already guessed that I am going to educate you on that history. Here goes:

The Treatsye on Flysshynge with an Angle (1496) within the book of Saint Albans is attributed to Dame Juliana Berners … as such the first known book on the sport of fly-fishing is attributed to a woman. This fascinating woman was many things during her quite interesting life – besides fly fishing, she hunted, was a nun and writer. Mary Queen of Scots has been called “Mother of Golf” – her  reference to a “mashie niblick” in a golf log is well known and oft quoted. This historical fact made more interesting on account of the iconic St. Andrews Golf Club being men only membership and when I visited this amazing sports club in Scotland during the 1990’s I pledged playing there one day … still a hope of mine. For women in America it was 1874 when Mary Owen Outerbridge discovered lawn tennis while vacationing in Bermuda where the English had exported it to along with much else. Surely females joined in when the Kings of France played – beginning with the Court of Louis X – in the 12th century … their “jeu de pume” or game of the palm was a must do for all the privileged class. There are notes to suggest the Henry Tudor – King of England and his ill fated wife Anne Boleyn played tennis both together and separately. But not until 1887 in my beloved hometown and still part time residence of Philadelphia where women were first officially playing in tennis tournaments. It must be noted that currently there are still prejudicial status for women in Sports – for instance the Golf Masters excludes women golfers; just this week the teenage young man, Chinese citizen, Guan ranked well and yet that nation’s girl golf students could not even consider entry. Well now, that is REAL proof that we of the female gender are still being marginalized in the Sports arena to some extent. Happily professional women athletes are coming into their won with endorsements and public notice … hopefully the collegiate possibilities will also increase soon.

I have been so blessed – even in the area of sports. My first amazing and very accomplished father-in-law, The Colonel, was also a senior citizen award winning ranked tennis player. Through him I met the late Arthur Ashe, John McEnroe and other iconic players. Still in my home are his trophies and awarded mementos.  I am proud to say and love visiting the Newport Tennis Hall of Fame, where this dear man is remembered.

There are more amazing REAL life sports loves in my life – more about my many memberships plans, like the  Golf Divas  in my memoir, Heiress Mommy … A Modern Super Woman Life. What I do want to conclude with here is how my second husband who loved bike marathons and hiking as his primary exercise obsession  took to running during our quite short three month courtship in preparation for our marriage – yes indeed, my honey wanted to be able to run with his new bride – sweet I am sure you will agree!!!

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One Comment to “A Sporting Woman!”

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