Born poor on this day in Port Arthur, Texas, Mildred Ella Didrikson (1911-1956) was nicknamed Babe for her Ruth-like home run clouts at sandlot softball.
Named "Top Woman Athlete of the Century" by the Associated Press in 1999, she excelled at every sport she tried and proved that women could play the same games as men.
An All-American basketball player, superior at baseball, softball, track and field, and golf, she swam like a fish and came in first at diving championships. About sports, she said," I sleep them, eat them, talk them, and try my level best to do them as they should be done."
"My main idea in any kind of competition always has been to go out there and cut loose with everything I've got," she explained. "I've always had the confidence that I was capable of winning out."
Didrikson was competitive, self-confident, and an outspoken self-promoter at a time when women weren't supposed be cocky...or even sweat. At the Olympics she planned to "beat everything in sight." She did. In the 1932 AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) championships, she won six gold medals and broke four world records.
A founder of the LPGA in 1950, she won 17 amateur golf tournaments in a row, a record that remains unbroken to this day by anyone, male or female.
A year before her colon cancer death, she fund-raised for cancer research, played her harmonica for patients, and established the Babe Zaharias Trophy to honor outstanding female athletes.
"When you get a big setback like that, there's no use crying about it," she said about her diagnosis, a topic seldom discussed in those days. "You just have to face your problem and figure out what to do next."
"Winning has always meant much to me," Didrikson said, "but winning friends has meant the most."
Don't panic...you can think under pressure.