Saturday, August 3, 2013

WTA Usana and Billy Jean King

Billy Jean King shares her passion for winning!
I wrote this back in 2011 after arguably the biggest health convention held anywhere in the world! This was exciting! For someone like me who grew up on Soul Train, Elton John and The Battle of the Sexes...read on! Usana welcomes a new WTA ambassador this year Sloane Stephens.

Billy Jean King, the WTA & USANA - my'duh moment at  USANA Convention 2011

by USANA - The Masters Team on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 7:55pm
I am back from Convention and my time in Salt lake City from August 24 - 27th seems like a marvelous dream. I was excited before day one to have the chance to attend.  The excitement continued to build each day. I had to keep reminding myself to stay in check lest my excitement turn into exhaustion preventing me from taking full advantage of the dozens of events planned for us. Here is one highlight; Billy Jean King!
 My D'uh moment came when Billy Jean King told all 6,000 of us the story behind the WTA one which is now intimately linked with USANA. If you didn't know, USANA HealthPak has become the official multi-vitamin and today we have six brand ambassadors from the association that include Kim Clijsters, Sam Stosur, Zheng Jie, Liezel Huber, Melanie Oudin, and Aleksandra Wozniak. It all seems so easy now doesn't it?
 .... but way back in 1973 for one tough minded lady who would not take "not good enough" for an answer and changed the course of history. Like so many, I remember Billy beating the crap out of Bobby Riggs and was glued to the television with my brother in the famed Battle of the Sexes match  in 1973. What delighted me about Billy's story was she says she respected Bobbby Riggs and that was the only reason she beat him. Ladies and Gentleman behold the heart and mind of a warrior champion! Respect your opponent.
"I knew his history. I studied him. I knew the war had messed up his career. Everyone said Bobby was a jerk but I loved Bobby. I respected him and that's the only reason I beat him."
 Wow! Now this was impressive. In fact,  Billy Jean had hoped that men and women would be able to play togther but "we weren't wanted." In spite of her professional dissappointment, or rather because of  it, she went on to found the WTA. "It finally got to the point where I said this is either going to happen or it's not. We just couldn't seem to get everyone on the same page. Finally, I begged everyone to come to a meeting and got 45 of us in a room.  I had the doors locked. At the end of the meeting nine of us had signed a contract to the WTA for a dollar."
A dollar? Can you believe that?
Billy went on to say that she knew that they wouldn't be the ones to make the big bucks and get the endorsements but she knew they were pioneers for women everywhere and that her dream was that any girl anywhere who wanted to play tennis should be able to and be taken seriouly. I'd say that dream has come true in a global way wouldn't you!? The USANA WTA Ambassadors alone come from South Africa, China, Australia...
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
Elton John...
Elton John is a huge fan of BJK. BJK is a huge fan of Elton John. Now back in the 70's a guy named Jack, who I believe was a good friend of Billy's, invited her to a party in L.A. "I am so not a party person. I'd rather stay home. But it was Jack so I went. When I arrived I said , So what's cooking Jack? What's the occasion? Birthday party? Anniversary?"  She was led to a table that was adjacent to Elton Johns. Thing is both were too shy to speak to one another so all night long Elton would look over to Billy and Billy would think "Oh God!" and look away. Finally, the last half hour of the party Tony, Elton's manager came over and asked her " Have you you said hello to Elton yet?"
"No. I can't talk to him! I'm too shy."
"Too shy?" Tony roared. 'This is RIDICULOUS! Come here!" and dragged Billy Jean over to Elton's table.
"Hi" she said shyly and at last the two spoke.
At the end of their exchange Elton said:
"Alright when you come to London I'll call you."
Billy thought to herself, Yeah right. But sure enough when she reached her hotel room in London, there was a note waiting for her that said  Please call Elton.
She thought 'Oh my God!" but dialed anyway.
Elton answered the phone. "HI!" said BJK shyly.
After a few minutes Elton asked "Can I come over?"
"Sure," she replied incredulously  and soon  Elton drove over in his Rolls Royce with the 28 stereo speakers. In the parking lot they sat listening to LPs for four hours.
A few days later Elton rung again and said "I want to write a song for you."
You can guess what BJK reaction was yet tactfully she agreed that Yes that would be great. And so they discussed it and soon "Philadelphia Freedom" was born the huge crossover hit that some of you may remember seeing on SOUL TRAIN.
What I learned:
1. Always accept opportunity even if you can't believe it's happening to you.
2. The next time I go to Convention I will be sure to be nearer to the floor instead of twenty six rows up so when BJK hits autographed tennis balls to the sounds of Philadelphia Freedom into the audience I can catch one!
How wonderful it must be for her to see the WTA that she founded in 1973 grow into the world class organization that it is today with athletes getting the highest quality nutrition they need from the best manufacturer of nutritional supplements in the world. How did she do it without the benefits we have today?
Sheer determination!
- Ekayani Chamberlin


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