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The Times
  • A League of Her Own: Effort is always in fashion

  • An obituary recently caught my eye.


    Gertrude “Gussie” Moran, a professional tennis player from the 1940’s, passed away at the age of 89.

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  • An obituary recently caught my eye.
    Gertrude “Gussie” Moran, a professional tennis player from the 1940’s, passed away at the age of 89.
    What struck me most was that she wasn’t praised for her skills with a racquet. Rather, she was remembered for what she wore.
    During her first match at Wimbledon in 1949, jaws dropped when she appeared on the court in a short skirt that displayed her ruffled underwear.
    This was obviously long before Serena Williams entered the scene.
    The tennis courts have undoubtedly changed since Moran’s days. The above-mentioned Williams showed off nude colored undergarments as she whacked the ball over the net during the 2010 French Open.
    Williams spoke to the Los Angeles Times after the fact and said her outfit was all “about illusion”.
    Um, there is little left to the imagination when your butt looks uncovered.
    Uniforms have come a long way since I played the game. In fact the overall “look” of the female athlete has drastically changed.
    Our uniforms in the 80’s-90’s consisted of uncomfortable polyester, typically five seasons deep, that were handed down from the athletes who played before us. They never fit right; there wasn’t much of a focus on fashion back then.
    And wearing makeup while sweating was not an option. I wouldn’t have been caught dead using mascara! Are you kidding me? I would have looked like a rabid raccoon as the sweat hit the lashes, causing the tar-like substance to trickle down my face.
    No, my friends and I looked like we just rolled out of bed with our simple elastic rubber bands holding up our hair with our oversized uniforms that were not very flattering.
    But then again, the focus wasn’t on what we looked like it was more about how we performed, so no one really cared.
    I wonder if there is pressure for female athletes to look a certain way today?
    A friend of mine shared that her daughter was pressured by her teammates to wear thong underwear so their underwear lines wouldn’t show during volleyball games.
    Are boys/men presented with the same dilemmas?
    My gut tells me no.
    As long as they have deodorant on, I think they’ve got it covered.
    I’ve never seen a guy re-adjust his hair in the middle of a tournament soccer game as I did last fall. The star player stopped midfield when the ball was at the other end and re-did her hair. It wasn’t as though her hair had fallen out or was in her face, it was more of a readjusting, making sure she looked good.
    Page 2 of 2 - It bothered me and made me think.
    I watch my five-year-old daughter, Vivien, want to emulate older girls and one of the first things she reaches for is lip-gloss or a pretty dress. Not a book to read or joke to tell.
    When handing out compliments I am often guilty of telling Vivi how “pretty” she looks or “cute”. If I catch myself I try to start out with, you are so “smart” or “funny” or “athletic” or “creative”.
    Yes girls are cute, beautiful, and pretty, but they are also a lot more.
    I hope, if and when Vivien is a teenager and decides to play sports, the focus is on how many assists she makes or batters she strikes out. If not sports, then how proud she is of the effort she put in, the way she treated others.
    Because real beauty is not about what you wear. As I tell her everyday, it comes from your heart.
    Heather Harris is reporter for the Norton Mirror, Mansfield News and Easton Journal. A three-sport high school athlete and two-sport college athlete, sports have long been a passion of hers. The mother of two can be seen playing good- and looking good  through the streets of Mansfield where she currently resides. Heather Harris can be reached at hharris@wickedlocal.com.
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