Union Democrat staff

Charen missed mark on King-Riggs match

To the Editor:

On the Opinion Page recently, columnist Mona Charen wrote a piece with the headline "The Bar for Women's equality set by a tennis match?" regarding the 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Her contention that: "The notion that women's equality rests upon women being just as physically powerful as men is wrong...". She goes on to say "So a 29-year-old, five-time Wimbledon female champion, Billie Jean King, was to play 55-year-old former Wimbledon male champion, Bobby Riggs, ... to prove that women .... are just as 'good' as men or maybe better?"

I am a former competitive tennis player. I never played Wimbledon , but I did qualify for the US Open in 1962, known then as the US Nationals. Billie and I were acquaintances. Rosie Casals - a member of the group headed by Billie Jean that founded women's professional tennis - was a friend, practice partner and traveling companion. I know their thinking.

Billie never believed that women were "equal" physically. She believed that women tennis players provide the same entertainment value on the court and should be paid accordingly. She called it fighting for "parity" (defined in the dictionary as: "the state or condition of being equal, esp. regarding status or pay"). Billie played that match not to show physical "equality"; she played the match as she would play any match: to win. The age difference simply made the match entertaining. She won - overwhelmingly in "straight sets" - because she was smarter.

Charen also mentions that the match may have been rigged; that Bobby only played in order to pay off his gambling debts. Make no mistake, he played to win. (Win or lose, he knew he'd make enough.) Billie Jean simply wanted to beat him to prove her point, which she did.

Roberta Goodwin


McClintock is living in a fantasy land

To the Editor:

On Oct. 1, Rep. Tom McClintock sent us a message from Limbaugh-Hannity fantasy land. Here in the real world, the closure of Yosemite and other recreational facilities will cause immediate harm to our local economy. Soon, we will see small businesses struggle, and we will know people who have lost their jobs. Rep. McClintock puts playing useless political games ahead of standing up for Tuolumne County. We should remember this at election time.

John Watson


Distractions will crash the bus

To the Editor:

They were in the car heading for a better place, a very typical American story.

Barry was driving. Harriett was in the front passenger seat. There was a mix of hooligans in the back seat, led by Johnny B. In the way back were the young ones, all loudly reading a fairy tale by Grover Nerdquist.

The road they were on had been rough and long. Tempers were short.

Detours, initiated by previous drivers on this long drive, had placed them on the edge of a cliff. No matter how Barry steered, they never seemed to be able to find a route away from the cliffs.

They all knew they needed to visit the doctor's office as a stop on their excursion. The majority agreed to follow the course Barry had set out to get them there. It was on the map, around the next bend in the road.

Then trouble hit.

The kids in the way back started whining, "We don't want to go to the doctors! It's going to hurt!"

Barry was able to ignore much of it, but it began to creep under his skin. Harriett did what she could. It became clear to the whiners that they couldn't steer the car from the back seat.

Finally, Johnny thought, "Maybe if I help the kids in the way back, I can steer."

A small group broke into a grand mal tantrum. Johnny jumped forward and grabbed the wheel, which forced Barry to put on the brakes and pull over. The car stopped. Nobody moved forward.

Almost immediately, fingers started pointing. The real crying, arguing and whining began in earnest. No one had the power to stop the chaos. As they argued, no one noticed the car creeping closer… and closer… to the cliff.

Joe Chiaramonte