National Womens History Month started Monday, March 1 and will continue until Wednesday, March 31. The month of March is dedicated to recognizing the contributions that women have made to history and LRHS Mustangs Ahead would like to recognize women that have made a huge impact on today’s society.
Cassidy McLellan- Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- As Mustangs recognize Women’s History Month, Mildred Ella Didrikson, now known as Babe Didrikson Zaharias, is worthy of the spotlight.
Girls varsity lacrosse coach Sammy Stoltz said, “I think it is important to highlight the steps that have been made towards equity in sports and the women who made such great steps.”
Zaharias was a very talented, multi-sport female athlete who grew up playing sports with her family.
Her father was a ship’s carpenter and cabinetmaker who advocated physical conditioning. With his carpentry skills, he built a weight-lifting appliance out of broomsticks and old flatirons for her to use.
Her mother from Norway learned to ski and skate at an exceptional level.
According to Biography Newsletter, “Mildred, called ‘Baby’ in her early years, was always competitive, interested in sports, and eager to play boys’ games with her brothers. After hitting five home runs in one baseball game, ‘Baby’ became ‘Babe’ (Babe Ruth was then in his heyday), a nickname that remained with her for the rest of her life.”
Even during her high school years in Texas, Zaharias continued to beat and set records. When she was 15, she became the highest scoring forward at Beaumont Senior High School.
Biography Newspaper also said, “She attracted the attention of Melvin J. McCombs, coach of one of the best girls’ basketball teams in the nation. In February 1930, McCombs secured a job for her with the Employers Casualty Company of Dallas, and she was soon a star player on its Golden Cyclones.”
She then began participating in track and field.
The Biography Newsletter stated, “At the National Women’s AAU Track Meet in 1931, she won first place in eight events and was second in a ninth.”
After accomplishing this, she went to the Olympics. At the time she joined, women were only allowed to participate in three events and even being only allowed to participate in the three events she ended up beating four records.
Paul Gallico, a sportswriter and American novelist, referred to her as, “The most talented athlete, male or female, ever developed in our country.’”
Zaharias then began playing golf in 1932.
She was the first women to play in the Professional Golfer Association (PGA). Five more women have participated in the PGA tournament since.
Zaharias was very accomplished in every sport she played and was even awarded the title of Best Female Athlete during the first half of the 20th century.
As can be seen, she deserves to be recognized during National Womens History Month.