“Then make it one dollar,” I told her. “A dollar contract is as binding as a trillion dollars.” -Billie Jean King
The her here is Gladys Heldman who signed one-dollar contracts with nine tennis players to compete in Virginia Slims of Houston which started the women’s pro tour. The day was September 23, 1970. The event was a step toward more equitable prize money for women and eventually big money for women’s tennis.
Each typeloop begins with a statement repeated many times until a conversation emerges. They can be viewed as an image or read as text. I like both but prefer the latter. Once complete, I capture as much as I remember about their creation. New things pop out all the time, though. That’s part of their fun.
Here’s what I wrote after creating “9 for 1 for 9” on October 5, 2021:
Nine lines of 1s represent each of the nine athletes who signed contacts with Gladys Heldman for the Virginia Slims Tour: Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Judy Tegart Dalton, Julie Heldman, Billie Jean King, Kerry Melville, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey and Valerie Ziegenfuss.
The typeloop is on the slant because it was an uphill climb as well as a tipping point.
I saw “1 dollar then make it ton” in the text but held off doing anything with it until after straightening the paper. I tweaked what I earlier saw into “1 dollar then make a ton.” Because that’s what ultimately happened. There’s equal pay in tennis now because of Heldman and The Original 9. And it’s big money.
In the first single-spaced band, I pivoted because I typed an “o” instead of the “i” in nine. This became: “one dollar not any more.” I like how it worked out even though I swore a bit at the gaff. With seven spaces left at the end, I added +gladys to end the line on the margin because business is important and somebody’s got to make it run so players can play.
In that same single-spaced band I saw “one dollar reach” in the mashed up “one dollar each.” I plucked “reach” and looped that because nothing here was certain. It was a risk for all of them. There were three extra spaces left at the end of the line so I added “eer” to the last reach and created “cheer.” Rah! Rah!
Players get waaaaay more than a dollar now because The Original Nine signed those contracts for $1 each.
And enter the best part, a riff on “all for one, one for all” that I do so flove to typeloop: 9 for 1 for 9. And the looping landed just right to pay homage to Heldman again like I did at the end of the previous single-spaced band (+gladys).
Each single-spaced band has nine lines for each of The Original Nine. Plus Gladys, of course.
If I squint the top of the 9 at the bottom looks like a ball bouncing up from the ground.