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Women athletes

It’s the 45th anniversary of Title IX since it passed legislation in 1972. This law paved the way for women to have equal rights to play sports in college. The NCAA Gender-Equity Task Force proclaimed that “No individual should be discriminated against on the basis of gender, institutionally or nationally, in intercollegiate athletics.”

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 also known as the Patsy T. Mink Equality Opportunity in Education Act, also declared. “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

This empowered women like tennis great Billy Jean King to take on the male establishment to win 39 Grand Slam tennis titles. It was her fight for equality in tennis to help the stars of today.

“Everybody should thank her and shake her hand,” King’s fellow tennis icon Chris Evert told CNN’s “Open Court.” “She put money in our pockets and provided a living for hundreds and hundreds of female athletes. “Tennis is the frontrunner in all sports in equality, so she deserves all of the credit.”

King is also well-known for competing against tennis player Bobby Riggs in “The Battle of the Sexes” exhibition game at the Houston Astrodome in 1973. Riggs was a former Wimbledon champion, who said he could beat any female player and spiced up the event with misogynist comments. “I’ll play her on clay, grass, wood, cement, marble or roller skates,” he quipped. Riggs also said that “women belong in the bedroom and kitchen, in that order.” Billie Jean King proved him wrong. She won the match and went on to show men everywhere that female athletes are a true force.

Decades before the breakthrough of Title IX, the first women’s rights convention was held in 1848 to discuss social and civil rights of women. Another famous first during that time was when Wyoming declared that every woman of the age of 21 may vote in any election in 1869. The territorial legislature of the state moved with brilliance to outlast the Congress, which lobbied to stop the law. A woman of the name of Victoria Woodhull became the first female to run for president for the Equal Rights Party and chose famous abolitionist Fredrick Douglas a few years later. This was unprecedented for a woman and it put a bull’s eye on her back. As gutsy as this Ohio native was, most women could not vote until the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920!

Years later, we still struggle and we still have glass ceilings to break in sports, politics and on Main Street. The question is, will we finally smash them? Like those who marched in support for women to have the right to vote, Title IX  gave us the optimism inequality is unacceptable.

Coming to U.S. movie theaters on September 7th for a special one-night event, Extraordinary tells the trust story of the acclaimed ultra-marathoner David Horton. The film follows Horton and his dream of tackling a nearly 3,000-mile run, which takes a toll on not only his body, but his marriage.

Although proud of David’s incredible athletic accomplishments and the impact he has on his students as a college professor, the Horton family pays a high price for his years of competitive running. Following his open-heart surgery and irreparable damage to his knees, wife Nancy Horton is ready for Dave to put away his racing shoes for good and instead focus on his home-life. Instead, feeling called by God to “inspire people one last time,” Dave sets off for a race across America.

Created and produced by the department of Cinematic Arts at Liberty University, Extraordinary will become the first feature film in history to be released in movie theaters nationwide.

Extraordinary will encourage couples to go the distance in their marriages and is a wonderful opportunity to start a dialogue about honoring your family, persevering, and finishing well,” said Liberty University President Jerry Falwell. “Daily, we challenge our students and faculty to engage the world through Christian media and Extraordinary does that in a big way. This movie truly is a labor of love for Liberty University’s film school.”

Fathom events teamed up with Liberty University to bring the film to the masses.

“Family plays an important role in our society,” Fathom Events CEO John Rubey said. “This redemptive story brings to light some of the sacrifices of marriage but will inspire audiences to appreciate, support and treasure their loved ones.”

The faith-based movie discusses topics of family, redemption, marriage and personal relationships with the Lord. Following the premier of the movie, a special panel discussion will be held by Fathom Events that includes filmmakers, Extraordinary cast members, and marriage experts to to discuss the importance of maintaining a healthy marriage, along with practical ways to improve relationships. As Horton’s marriage was tested during his grueling run, the panel will explore the impact that following your dreams can have on those closest to you.

The film features stars such as Leland Klassen (Alter Egos), Shari Rigby (October Baby), Kirk Cameron (Fireproof), and Karen Abercrombie (War Room).

A list of theaters showcasing the movie and options to buy tickets can be found on the movies website.



“Hearing is Believing” is a heartwarming film on Rachel Flowers, a young musical prodigy who was born 15 weeks premature and lost her eyesight due to Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) shortly after birth. At the age of two, she began picking up melodies from her musician parents and was soon playing every song she heard by ear, including Bach fugues. Starting her musical education at the age of 4, Rachel spent 10 years studying at the Southern California Conservatory of Music and the Academy of Music for the Blind.

The film covers two years in the life of the tight-knit Flowers family, a single mom and her two kids, living paycheck to paycheck, with Rachel’s stunning music as the soundtrack. Among the great musicians appearing with Rachel in the film are Grammy winners Stevie Wonder, Dweezil Zappa, Arturo Sandoval, two-time Grammy nominated jazz pianist, Taylor Eigsti, Progressive Rock icon Keith Emerson and 50 members of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony!

Rachel is the recipient of many awards, distinctions, and scholarships, including a Stanford University Jazz Residency, Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Awards, winner of the Ventura County Student Jazz Competition and private instruction in advanced improvisation through the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

The film will be released in select theaters on June 16th and will be available on VOD on June 20th.



Kassandro/ Wikimedia Commons

Kassandro/ Wikimedia Commons

A town’s admirable effort for hope during dark times may have produced one of the most notable passion plays of all time.  The play has a rich history including a long kept promise and a town that maintains to show its faith to this day.

In 1633, during the Thirty Years’ War, the town of Oberammergau in Germany was suffering and dying from the bubonic plague. Claiming the lives of thousands of townspeople, the remaining citizens were desperate for any relief from the sickness.  They prayed and made a promise, out of appreciation, to produce and perform a play honoring Christ through his journey of life through suffering, death, and the resurrection if they could be relived of the curse known as the plague.

Maintaining hope and continuing prayer, it seemed that the villagers’ prayers had finally been answered. The adult death rate slowly subsided over the course of several months until there were none from the sickness.  The thankful townspeople, remembering their oath, began writing and implementing their efforts towards the production.

The play follows the final period of the life of Christ from his visit to Jerusalem to his execution by crucifixion.   It includes dramatic text and dialogue, musical and choral complements, as well as scenes that are represented by motionless actors guided with a verbal description, or also called tableaux vivants.   These are scenes from the Old Testament and are the foundation of the connection between the Old and the New Testament.

The first play was performed in 1634.  When determining where the production would be held, the town took into account that Oberammergau’s primal community church would be too small. It was eventually decided to hold the play in the graveyard of the church, which hosted the graves of the villagers who had died of the plague that once terrorized the town.

The performance remained at the location of the graves until 1820 when a stage was built at the location of where the current Passion Play Theatre resides. Over the years, accommodations have been made to update the site. Stages were built and structures that withheld the stages were modernized again and again to meet different needs based off of previous years of performances. Through all of the renovations the stage has always maintained an “open-air” concept to ensure that the sky and mountains maintain as the natural backdrop.  The overall updates made the transformation from the conventional rows of benches to comfortably cushioned seating occupying around 4,700 guests being covered by an awning. The theater was also accommodated with wheelchair accessibility and top safety precaution plans.

In 2020, plans are made for the Oberammergau passion play to debut once more. Being right on schedule, the play follows a rule of performing every ten years.  The next performance will make for the 42nd time that it will be executed in a 380 year time span with minimal interruption. The play is performed consecutively for a total of five months.  It will go on from May to October.

A lot of planning and preparation goes into a performance of this capacity. What truly makes this production prominent is that The Oberammergau Passion Play is the world’s largest amateur dramatic performance. It involves some 2,000 performers, musicians, and stage technicians. All participants of the production are residents of Oberammergau.  The participant must have either been born there or lived there for at least 20 years. They manage to make their distinguishable mark on the world of the arts by using extraordinary costumes to assist the dramatic scenes and musical numbers. Also aiding the musical numbers there is an orchestra consisting of around 60 members as well as a choir.   

The production is expecting to occupy around 500,000 guests throughout its next session. Over half of their guests are known to be international.  The play is performed in German but there is said to not be any issue with being able to understand what is going on throughout the performance. There are packaged tours that individuals often go through and over 38 different itineraries are offered by the production for different groups. The play runs for a total of five to five and a half hours. It starts at 2:30 p.m. and ends around 10:30 p.m. with a three hour intermission.  Food is served during the intermission in the theatre. It also runs once a day, every day except for Monday and Wednesday.

The level of tradition that the individuals of Oberammergau put into practice is commendable. It’s reassuring that an entire town has the ability to practice and perform their faith in such a way that people from around the entire world are seeking to travel numerous amounts of miles to share it with them. The most generous part of it all is that Oberammergau is willing to share its love and appreciation for Christ with all of their visitors and have been doing so for over 300 years.