In 1973 Billie Jean King seven years removed from being #1 woman in the world Defeated 55-year-old Bobby Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in a $100,000 winner take all match billed as the Battle of the Sexes.
King’s victory cemented her as a feminist icon for silencing Mr. Riggs, ranked #1 in 1941 in the world 32 years earlier and member of the Tennis Hall of Fame who said that at age 55 he could defeat women 25 years his junior.
What a lot of people forget is the four months before losing in to Miss King, Bobby Riggs took on another 30 years old former #1 ranked women, Margaret Court and demolished her in straight sets.
Today people make Riggs the butt of jokes conveniently forgetting his lopsided victory over Court (losing only 3 games) while playing competitively with King. The actual lesson of the exercise was this 55 year world champion with his best years decades behind him was able, on a national stage able to hold own against the very best women of the time both young enough to be his daughter managing a combined score of 22-21 in five sets.
For all the accolades Miss King received, No sane person would contend that at age 55 in 1998 she would have had a prayer against a 31-year-old Boris Becker or a 33-year-old Stefan Edberg. That’s not to imply she wasn’t a spectacular Tennis Champion, she was, it’s simply because at age 55 she simply could not have physically been able to compete with either of these men.
That’s simple biology…which brings us to Gabrielle Ludwig
In the days leading up to the game, people had plenty to say about 6-foot-6-inch, 220-pound Gabrielle Ludwig, who joined the Lady Saints as a mid-season walk-on and became, according to advocates, the first transsexual to play college hoops as both a man and a woman.
When I saw this story all I could think of was Riggs/King with a twist.
Gabrielle Ludwig like Riggs is 25 years the senior of the women on the basketball court, both teammates and opponents. but there are three huge differences that work in Gabrielle Ludwig’s favor that Bobby Riggs didn’t have going for him.
1. While Basketball like Tennis is a fast paced physically demanding game it has certain advantages in terms of stamina. The nature of the game allows Gabrielle Ludwig periods of rest and relief, particularly at half time. Bobby Riggs had to play through the match without such relief.
2. Bobby Riggs was #1 in the world in 1941, he took on Margaret Court #1 in the world in 1962 & Billie Jean King #1 in the world in 1966. All three are rightly in the Tennis hall of fame. While Riggs enjoyed the physical advantages of manhood, they were offset not only by age but by the experience and skill of two opponents prepared both physically and mentally to cope with the absolute best the world had to offer. Gabrielle Ludwig on the other hand, operations and hormones not withstanding not only has the muscle set of man and some coaching experience. These physical & mental tools are being deployed against 18 & 19 year old girls who are still learning the game of basketball at a college level.
3. Basketball is a sport where, Muggsy Bogues not withstanding, height is critical. The Avg height of players in women’s basketball is 5′ 8″ in the WNBA it is 6′ and the avg height of a center in the WNBA is 6′ 8″. Consider this information on an article on “Why there are so few dunks in the WNBA all emphasis mine”
The average female college basketball player has a vertical leap of approximately 19 inches, compared with more than 28 inches for the average male player. Since you have to get your fingers about 6 inches above the rim to have a chance at dunking, a female player of average leaping ability would have to be around 6-foot-6 with a standing reach of 8-foot-11”—the approximate measurements for Michael Jordan. (His Airness reportedly had a 48-inch vertical leap.) Few female players are that tall, and none of those giants is an exceptional leaper.
Gabrielle Ludwig is 6′ 6″ age not withstanding that height advantage combined with a 220 pound frame in basketball makes a huge difference.
Mind you this is not against NCAA rules as the SunTimes says:
As someone living as a woman and taking female hormones since 2007, Ludwig was eligible to play in the NCAA. Transgender student athletes who have taken medication to suppress testosterone for a year may compete on women’s teams under a policy adopted last year.
But I do object to the following on non-basketball grounds
The California Community College Athletic Association had another hoop for Ludwig. Because its rules base gender on a student’s birth certificate, she would need a new one. Ludwig, who had sex reassignment surgery over the summer, petitioned a judge and obtained her papers on Nov. 30.
So now according to new official paperwork Gabrille Ludwig mother gave birth to a daughter 51 years ago, but what’s re-writing history when we have a meme to promote?
When it comes to the game a false birth certificate can’t hide the politically correct biological facts.
Advocates can cheer all they want but Gabrille Ludwig is able to compete in the NCAA college woman’s game, because hormones operations and the blessing of society not withstanding, Gabrille Ludwig is a man.
I do not doubt nor question Gabrielle Ludwig’s drive. At the age of 50 the effort play basketball at any level is considerable and commendable but let’s be blunt:
If a woman with the same prior experience attempted to make the team had attempted to make the team, the odds of success would be slim and none.
Furthermore if Gabrielle Ludwig had been born a woman and had gender reassignment surgery in 2007 the newly minted Gabe Ludwig would not be able to compete with the young women Gabrielle Ludwig plays with today, let alone make the men’s college team.
The only reason Gabrielle Ludwig’s efforts have been rewarded is because Gabrielle Ludwig is Bobby Riggs.
It’s a truth that everybody knows but in the culture of 2012, such things can’t be admitted in polite society, not when there is a liberal meme to be sold to a gullible public.
Update: I guess I owe Gabrielle Ludwig an apology for comparing him to Riggs. Weirdness not withstanding Gabrielle Ludwig isn’t throwing any games.