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Facts mix with Jersey fiction yet Battle
After the credits finished rolling at the end of the Battle of the Sexes, the new cinematic re-creation of the events surrounding the famous tennis match in 1973 between Billie Jean King, the world’s No1 female player, and Bobby Riggs, the Wimbledon men’s singles champion of 1939, I asked myself if the staging of the event could really have been as preposterously over the top as it is depicted in the film.
Yes, there really were 30,000 spectators in the vast Houston Astrodome for a match which, in tennis terms, had no meaning at all. Yes, there were cheerleaders in hot pants, waving pom-poms. Yes, King Ndamukong Suh Jersey really was conveyed into the arena by husky young men bearing the champion on a feather-bedecked Pharaonic litter (Riggs, wearing a jacket emblazoned Sugar Daddy, arrived in a Joe Williams Youth jersey rickshaw pulled by young women in tight tops, known as Bobby’s Bosom Buddies.)
According to the eyewitness, the New York Times reporter Grace Lichtenstein, there were midgets dressed as dancing bears cavorting near a champagne bar and a carvery at courtside. The University of Houston marching band played selections from Jesus Christ Superstar. George Foreman, crowned heavyweight champion of the world eight months earlier, the crooner Andy Williams and the great Cleveland Browns full-back Jim Brown were http://www.authenticoilersshoponline.com/authentic-55-mark-letestu-jersey.html among the celebrity guests.
In her book A Long Way, Baby, a portrait of the women’s professional circuit that year, Lichtenstein added that the King-Riggs match had turned the Astrodome into one vast casino. http://www.officialfootballauthentics.com/tampa_bay_rays-c-3039_3069.html Just about every possible aspect of the contest became the subject of betting, including how many sets the winner would lose and how many games the loser would win. “Just about the only pool overlooked was how many tubas the band would have playing the national anthem.”
So it was an entertainment, sure enough. But what attracted those tens of thousands to the Astrodome and drew a television audience of 37 million across the US was Authentic Le'Veon Bell Jersey not the champagne and the pom-poms and the marching band. It was a face-off between masculine assumptions of superiority and an attempt to haul the idea of gender equality into the cultural mainstream.
If the film’s treatment of that essential conflict is a little cartoonish then that, too, is how it really was. Riggs really did say at a press conference, while sitting next to King: “Don’t get me wrong – I love women, in the bedroom and in the kitchen.” Howard Cosell, the front man for the live ABC telecast, really did drape his arm around the shoulders of Rosie Casals, his co-commentator for the evening, patronising a woman who partnered King to seven grand slam doubles titles.
Riggs certainly knew how to sell the event. In the film his initial pitch to King goes straight for the tabloid angle: http://www.officialbengalsfootballproshop.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_JORDAN_WILLIS_JERSEY.html “Male chauvinist pig versus hairy-legged feminist, right?” The film never quite works out Riggs’s real view of feminism, if any. Gambling is the motor of his life, and his priority seems to be to create an event in which he can back himself to win with some certainty, in order to pay off a bunch of debts.