Throwback Thursday: Don’t Tell Me I Can’t – From World Judo Champion to Start-Up Grandmother 1


Going through our archives, we came across this great post from August 11, 2013 “Don’t Tell Me I Can’t: From World Judo Champion to Start-Up Grandmother” that we wanted to share in case you missed it the first time around.

I was asked to write a chapter for the book, Real Talk, Real Women, edited by Miriam Khalladi. Here is the beginning of my chapter

“####, I will break your ###ing arm!” is perhaps not the best statement with which to begin an inspirational essay. However, it is a good summary of my attitude when I competed in judo. I always wondered if maybe there was a week during my school years where they got all of the girls in the room and gave them The Rules. You know, the rules, like:
• Your physical appearance will never match up to what it should be.
• It makes a difference what clothes you wear.
• Girls aren’t good at math.
• No man wants a woman who comes home from practice soaking wet with sweat.
• Women can’t be as successful as men in business, because they have children to raise.
• Don’t say anything that might upset people.

If there was a week like that, I must have been out sick with the measles and missed it because all of my life nearly everyone around me has acted as if there was this set of rules.

“Why can’t you be like everybody else?”
“Why can’t you just accept that there are some things you CAN’T do?”
“Why do you always act like the rules don’t apply to you?”
“Just who do you think you are?”

2013-09-22 16.23.36

I have heard that mantra all of my life and even though I’m probably the oldest author in this book, I still don’t understand it any better than when I was a child. Fifty years ago, I couldn’t accept that schools had boys’ sports but not girls’ sports. Thirty years ago, I couldn’t accept that women couldn’t be engineers. Today, I can’t accept that grandmothers can’t be CEO of a successful technology start-up, especially not in gaming.

Interestingly, I noticed that another judo competitor, Marti Malloy, is also writing a chapter for this book. I bet her chapter contains less swearing than mine.

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One thought on “Throwback Thursday: Don’t Tell Me I Can’t – From World Judo Champion to Start-Up Grandmother

  • Elaine

    Thanks for the share. I missed the rules meeting during my school years as well. One of the reasons Dr. Mars has been my hero for decades, is because she follows I feel what God puts on her heart to do. Love will take people places few dare to tread. I feel we don’t ever have enough strong positive female role models, or male role models.