My book launch party was a huge success even though it was too cold and cloudy to sit at our new outdoor table and enjoy our backyard view of the Alps and Mont Blanc.
We fooled Mother Nature, moved the patio furniture inside, held the party anyway and still had fun.
My friends were an eclectic mix of friends from around the globe : American, British, Canadian, Cameroonian, Croatian, French, German, Irish, Indian, Polish, Spanish, Swiss, Swedish, Somali, South-African, Zimbabwean and even one Wisconsinite.
When I explained why I was compelled to write the book, my friends wondered,
What argument did authorities use to ban women’s participation in sports? »
“The physical education association, backed by medical authorities, forbade competitive sport for girls, because they believed that rigorous exercise would be too strenuous for their hearts” I explained. “They feared it could interfere with a woman’s ability to bear children.”
“How could a country that had the scientific knowledge to drop an atomic bomb and put a man on the moon believe such nonsense?”
My European friends were astounded.
In retrospect, it sounds preposterous. Their incredulous reaction reaffirmed my reasons for telling my story. I wanted to record the voice of the silent generation, who fought for the equal rights in education and sport, opportunities which thankfully women today can take for granted. My book, Home Sweet Hardwood, A Title IX Trailblazer Breaks Barriers Through Basketball is important because, despite many victories, the struggle for gender and racial equality continues.
Our doorbell rang non-stop and my little abode filled with chocolates, champagne, and wine in an outpouring of congratulations. Every spare table and counter space was covered with bouquets of roses, lilies, and peonies every color of the rainbow.
My techie husband, who orchestrated the whole event, including cooking tasty treats, and posted our website on TV with snapshots of my past.
Champagne flowed; the house rang with laughter and cheerful chatter.
The moment was made more poignant because I also shared the evening with my son. We topped off the night with a toast among his friends in celebration of his college graduation.
What touched me the most was knowing that even though most of the people at my party had no interest in basketball, they bought the book anyway, intrigued by my story and as a sign of solidarity.
I tumbled into bed after midnight, overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support of my long held dream.