Monday, October 22, 2007

Head of the Charles Regatta

The annual running of the Head of the Charles Regatta happened this past weekend with 8000 rowers racing a 3 mile course on the Charles River. My long-time doubles partner, Cindy Matthes, and I raced in the Master's Women's 2x, placing a respectable 5th place. Cindy and I were doubles partners in the Olympic Games back in 1992 and the days of setting course records and winning gold medals are long past - - but we have continued to row together, three times a week, our lycra sagging and our efforts not so pretty.

That being said, during the last part of the race, we passed Cambridge Boat Club coming into Eliot Bridge, hearing a deafening huge groundswell of cheers - - and my new favorite high school team, St. Ursula's from Ohio, they all hung over Eliot Bridge screaming my name and urging us to crank up the volume.

After my race, heartrate still full on, they put me behind the mike, announcing the remainder of the races for the day - heckling them was more like it. As my friend, Eddie Hewitt, the consigliere of row2k said, "at least you didn't go over the line too much."

To top the weekend, which was unusually sunny and calm, I was en route to the gym today for an executive workout (that would be a jacuzzi and a shower) - and was stopped by several people who remarked that we had received an extraordinary amount of coverage. When I opened The Boston Globe, there we were, in our full glory. But it was not because of our speed.

It was because Cindy and I teamed up with the irrepressible David Fialkow (a wild man venture capitalist) and the exuberant Wyc Grousbeck (owner of the Celtics and former Princeton rowing champion) in the 4x race, with Wyc and David having raised nearly $250,000 for the Perkins School for the Blind. David, a complete novice, had rowed only 2 months prior to the race - and Wyc, a strong athlete in his own right, had not rowed a race in 25 years. They set about raising money by challenging their friends to sponsor their training miles, joining us for workouts, without, remarkably, a single whine, whimper, or complaint.

Anyone wishing to donate funds to the Perkins School for Wyc and David's efforts can send checks payable to the Perkins School to Wyc Grousbeck, Owner- Boston Celtics Management, 226 Causeway Street, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Rutgers in the News Again - Its Controversial Decision to axe six Olympic sports - and a new book by a long time critic.

The controversial decision by Rutgers athletic director, Robert Mulcahy, to cut six teams in order to trim the athletic budget by approximately $2 million dollars, continues to reverberate throughout the Rutgers community. Rutgers, in the wake of a projected $80 million dollar deficit, asked all departments, university-wide, to closely examine their budgets this past year.

Robert Mulcahy, stating that Title IX required him to cut mostly men's sports, made the decision to phase out men's heavyweight crew, lightweight crew, fencing, swimming and diving, tennis, and women's fencing - - all Olympic sports, and sports which developed Rutgers athletes in Olympians and national team members. According to the Wall Street Journal, Rutgers has produced 19 Olympic rowers alone.

Although Mulcahy claimed that Title IX required him to cut the men's teams, he simultaneously increased the budget for men's football, with a pay raise to the men's football coach, Greg Schiano, of $1.5 million dollars. ""Football is a separate issue -- I look at it differently from the rest of the sports. It raises far more money, and ultimately the success of football can carry the rest of our programs," Mulcahy said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

However, Rutgers Football does not make money - and according to the NCAA, 80% of all football programs nationwide lose money. A blogger just sent me an email that the Rutgers stadium required $80 million in funding - and that the men's tennis scholarship budget was a mere $29,500. Although I can understand a desire to restore a football team to prominence, feeding steak to 150 guys on the football team is excessive when other parts of the university are hemorrhaging, and other athletes and programs are sacrificed in the process.

Rutgers Football is doing well, however. And with that success, comes challenges. After defeating Navy last month, Rutgers football fans shouted profanities and "you suck" to Navy - which in my mind, constitutes the usual heckling at the end of a football game, especially with Jersey fans having imbibed one too many. Rutgers President, Richard McCormick, however, sent a letter of apology to Jeffrey Fowler, the Naval Academy's Vice Admiral, clearly embarrassed that Rutgers fans would harrass athletes headed off to Iraq.

The money spent on football and basketball has made William Dowling, a tenured English professor at Rutgers, irate. Dowling, a long-time critic of Rutgers athletics and its push into big time football and basketball, just penned a diatribe, "Confessions of a Spoilsport" which chronicles his 10 year effort to fight against the expansion of Division I sports at Rutgers which has, he claims, degraded the caliber of students and community at Rutgers. The New York Times last week published an interview with Dowling, in which Dowling says "We tried to take on the monster of commercialized sports, even if it swallowed us up and passed us out the other end. Someone should know that we fought the good fight." However, Dowling's response to a question as to whether Rutgers athletics provided minority students with greater opportunities, has created more controversy. "If you were giving the scholarship to an intellectually brilliant kid who happens to play a sport, that’s fine,” Dowling said. “But they give it to a functional illiterate who can’t read a cereal box, and then make him spend 50 hours a week on physical skills. That’s not opportunity. If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school.”

Robert Mulcahy immediate decried Dowling's remark as racist, as did University President Richard McCormick. Dowling later said, according to ESPN, "none of these kids would have been able to get into Rutgers if they hadn't been able to throw something or kick something or slam dunk something." However, Rutgers officials claim that the 2.7 grade point average of the football team is on par with the rest of the university.

Clearly, Dowling's remark was was not well thought out... and was inflammatory in many respects. However, Rutgers would do well to remember that its fundamental responsibility is to create opportunities for all of its students to become leaders and productive citizens... and not to produce NFL players or NBA players or Olympic athletes, for that matter.

And that a 2.7 grade point average is cause for concern and might warrant the addition of a few more tutors rather than another increase in the compensation for Coach Schiano or his staff.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

St. Ursula's Crew - Head of the Cuyahoga - Head of the Charles

Congratulations to St. Ursula's Crew from Toledo, Ohio, which, for their second consecutive year, won the Chris Ernst/A HERO FOR DAISY trophy for the fastest women's eight. This high school team will be travelling to Boston to compete in the 2007 Head of the Charles Regatta - - and I am excited to meet them.

I, too, will be racing with my long-time doubles partner, Cindy Matthes in the Women's Masters Double at the Head of the Charles -- and we are also teaming up with Wyc Grousbeck (owner of the Celtics) and David Fialkow (crazy man venture capitalist) to row a mixed 4x on Sunday. Wyc has kindly outfitted us with Celtics jerseys and socks - - although it is unclear whether the Celtics will really benefit from four aging athletes all trying to defy their age...

DAISY will also be screening at number of times at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis, IN - on October 20th, 21st, 24th and 25th. For more information, log onto:

Finally - I was wedged between film critic Jay Carr and OJ Simpson commentator Bill Fallon on Jim Braude's Quiz Night on NECN last week. For the first time in a very long time, I won the NECN coffee cup because of my amazing ability to retain obscure and irrelevant facts about celebrities and politicians in Massachusetts.

I only wish I could remember what I had for lunch yesterday.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Heartland Film Festival

A Hero for Daisy will be screening as part of the 2007 Heartland Film Festival, October 19-22 in Indianapolis, IN. Exact details will be posted here.

On another note, our favorite football team (The Patriots), which is a narrow second to our second-favorite team (The Falcons) is also receiving less than favorable press. A team assistant was caught filming the Jets coaching staff as they were signalling defensive plays last Sunday. Although everyone tries to intercept these signals in order to read plays - the NFL explicitly banned the videotaping of sideline activity.

My son, a budding football player himself, asked me this after reading the headlines about the $500,000 fine assessed to Bill Belichick: "why would he cheat, mama?"

I had no good answer.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Hero for Daisy - Redux and Michael Vick

My friend, Eric Hamilton, a producer in New York, just sent me an email informing me that the 2003 Colby College women's rowing team (which won the NCAA Championships that year), each had their NCAA Championship rings inscribed with the phrase "dream a little... sweat at lot.." (the tagline from A Hero for Daisy).

I was not aware of this - - but am deeply touched. A shout out to Colby Crew.

On other notes, Lemonade Stories will be screening in the UK this fall - details to follow.

Finally - I have been thinking long and hard about the indictment of Michael Vick, the Atlanta Falcon's quarterback, partly because our good friend, Arthur Blank (owner of the Falcons), was profiled in Lemonade Stories.

Pit-bull fighting is barbaric, particularly the methods used to train the animals - and although Vick has not yet been found guilty, Roger Goddell's decision to suspend Michael Vick from the National Football League was probably the right thing to do. There is never an excuse to victimize and beat a dog.

My hope is that the Commissioner will react with the same urgency and with similar sanctions, even if not yet found guilty, the next time a player victimizes and beats a woman.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rutgers Slashes Olympic Sports to "Feed the Beast"

My friend, Tom Darling, just circulated today's Wall Street Journal article by Skip Rozin, which reported that Rutgers University (and its board of governors) will be increasing tuition by 7.8% to offset a reduction in monies from the State of New Jersey, but that the increase will not be enough to restore six varsity programs which were cut by Rutgers, being men's swimming and diving, and tennis, men's and women's fencing, and men's lightweight and heavyweight crew.

The irony is two-fold. First, many of the best athletes from Rutgers have gone on to represent the US at the Olympics and on national teams in the sport of rowing. The fencing program also attracts some of the best high-school fencers in the country (mostly from New Jersey). Second, the football team, which indeed had a terrific record this year (11-2), suffered no cutbacks. In fact, coach Greg Schiano's compensation was raised nearly 50% to 1.5 million dollars (and Vivian Stringer, the women's basketball coach, saw her compensation dramatically increase to nearly $975,ooo.)

The Rutgers football program currently runs at a loss. However, athletic director, Bob Mulcahy, stated that the extra money towards football had nothing to do with the elimination of the other varsity sports. "Football is a separate issue -- I look at it differently from the rest of the sports. It raises far more money, and ultimately the success of football can carry the rest of our programs." As Skip Rozin notes, claiming that football can carry an athletic department (or that it truly makes money) is often a specious argument. The NCAA reports that nearly 80% of all collegiate football programs lose money - and Rutgers football is currently in that bottom 80%.

"When you read accounts about the revenue that football generates, they're really full of holes, ignoring capital expenditures and debt financing," says James Duderstadt, president of the University of Michigan from 1988 to 1996. "I think people close to Michigan, with all of its visibility, regard football at this level as more of a headache than a benefit to the institution. We've seen more institutions going heavily into debt to pay coaches over a million dollars, and more programs eliminated in order to feed the beast."

Cutting men's sports (or any sport) at the behest of football is short-sighted. If I remember correctly, a giving report showed that cross-country runners and rowers gave more to their college endowments than other athletes. More importantly, eliminating teams robs student-athletes of the opportunity to learn the lessons of sport, which can then make them into more productive citizens, coaches, teachers and parents after they graduate.

Last I checked, colleges were in the business of creating and educating a future generation of leaders, imbuing them with the opportunity to learn life-long lessons. They are not in the business of sending students to the NFL or NBA or the Olympics, for that matter. Any student who wants to play a varsity sport ought to have that opportunity, period. Including anyone who wants to play football.

However, it doesn't mean that they all get to eat steak and have a disproportionate number of scholarships and multiple coaches to support a roster of 151 players - especially when the NFL can get by with far fewer players. 53 to be exact.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Steroids and Sport

I am on NECN (New England Cable News) on Monday, July 30 at 7pm with Jim Braude to talk about steroids, sports, and whether women are just as likely to use performance enhancements as men.

It should be an interesting discussion - particularly in light of the ejection of Michael Rasmussen from the Tour de France (among other athletes), several of whom did not actually ever test positive. Rasmussen failed to make himself available for out-of-competition drug tests, a fact which which prompted the Danish cycling federation to ban him from competing in the 2007 World Championships and the 2007 Olympic Games. Despite this well known fact, Rasmussen, ironically, was allowed to compete at the Tour de France, where he was the race leader going into the final time trial with a very comfortable lead. However, a commentator announced that he had seen Rasmussen in Italy (during the dates of the missed drug tests) contesting Rasmussen's claim that he had been in Mexico with family members at the time. The Rabobank Team concluded that he lied about his whereabouts, and they yanked him from the Tour de France and sent him home - another low moment in the Tour de France.

My overall conclusion is this - follow the money, and wherever there is money, there is generally doping. Professional cycling, football, boxing, baseball, weightlifting, track and field, to name a few. In fact, when I was competing, we all knew that most of the Eastern Block athletes used steroids and other enhancements - - but here again, money, apartments, large cash bonuses for Iron Curtain team athletes and coaches, and other incentives were at stake.

Many people hold the athlete accountable when drug tests are positive - but what will really clean up sports is to hold the coach/doctor/staff/owner accountable. If these coaches are fired, things will change very dramatically and very quickly. Steroid use among high school athletes is alarmingly on the rise - and unless coaches check this and insist on random drug testing with serious consequences for those who test positive, the problem will get worse before it gets better.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Are men more interested in sport? John Stossel's book says so.

I rarely tune into 20-20 or John Stossel, for that matter. But my friend, Roger Talkov (who also used to replicate all of our DVDs) today asked me if I had read Stossel's new book and what did I think of his assertion that men are more interested in sport than women - and did I think that Title IX was killing opportunities for men.

In the interest of disclosure - I have not read John Stossel's book. Nor do I intend to. However, as my pal, Molly Hoyle says, never let the facts get in the way of a good rant. But I will say that without reading his book, this very same argument was vetted in great depth by the US Supreme Court in the seminal Title IX case, Cohen v. Brown University, where Brown University made the same argument as Stossel now does- that men are more interested in sport, justifying Brown's decision to drop women's volleyball and gymnastics. The Supreme Court found that that there was no evidence to support this conclusion and Brown decisively lost its case. Furthermore, although several decisions by colleges and universities to cut men's wrestling or swimming or tennis has recently made headlines, the NCAA's last Title IX report concluded that great disparities still continue to exist between resources and funding for men's college teams and women's teams, including the fact that men recieve $155 million more per year in scholarship monies.

That being said, I never think it is a good idea to cut sports or cut athletes from teams, men or women. If 151 men want to play college football, then notwithstanding the fact that 80% of all college football teams lose money and the fact that NFL team rosters have fewer than 60 players, anyone who wants to play ought to be able to play. The actual athletic budget, however, ought to be allocated fairly to create equal opportunities. Wrestlers who wear polyester unisuits which cost all of $1.49 ought not to have their teams cut, even if fewer men are actually going out for the sport. Ditto for men's tennis and swimming. Athletic directors who cut men's teams, are often responding to budgetary cut-backs and not the requirements of Title IX. And often times, those very same athletic directors, who are axing men's teams, are not cutting back bloated football programs.

That being said, I do not dispute the fact that men and women are different. I, for one, am directionally impaired. My husband is not. I also do not disagree that women and men may approach athletics differently. (Men tend to play intramural sports in far greater numbers than women, for a host of different reasons, while women will run or do yoga or dance if they are not varsity athletes. But the last time I checked, women had to pay tuition - just like the men. And therefore, they should automatically be entitled to the same athletic opportunities as well as the same educational opportunities. The fact that more men are scientists would never be used to shut women out of chemistry courses at a university.

As a postscript - a parent's group in Grand Rapids had to fight the Michigan State High School Athletic Association for equality for their high school daughters, including the right to play (and compete against other teams) in season. The Athletic Association, which lost its case early on, appealed the decision all the way to the US Supreme Court, spending millions of dollars in legal fees for a case that would span nearly 8 years - concluding in 2007.

Donna Lopiano, the head of the Women's Sports Foundation, had a great analogy. If you have a son and a daughter and you can only afford a single steak for dinner, would you really hand the entire steak to your son? Or your daughter? You'd feed them both and each would have to make do with a little bit less.

The bitterness and acrimony over this debate makes me glad that I went to a women's college. At Mount Holyoke, before they built a beautiful athletic complex, we had a second-rate gym and a tiny weight room with 20 year old equipment - but at least it was all ours and no one ever suggested that we didn't deserve to be there.

Monday, July 9, 2007

American Express Member's Project

We were just notified that our educational outreach and film project (designed to inspire inner city kids to become entrepreneurs and adventurers) has been selected by American Express as the Top 50 Project in their Member's Project Competition.

Given that our odds of being selected are now better than the lottery (AMEX will fund only one project), we would be delighted if you would vote for our project (Number 762) by clicking HERE.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Scene First Student Film Festival

The inaugural debut of the Scene First Film Festival was terrific. The event was kicked off with an outdoor film screening overlooking the Cape Fear River and an up and coming local band. There are students here from 28 states and 8 countries - all showcasing their works and passions.

After an evening sitting on a veranda with rocking chairs (very Southern, I was told), chatting to Rick Butler (production designer for The Talented Mr. Ripley) and goading him into telling inside stories, I found myself in front of lots of students this morning, earnest and enthusiastic about their work. In the interest of full disclosure, I am on the board of advisors for this film festival - and joined several famous Hollywood directors and producers. I am not so famous. This, of course, does not bother me in the least. Fortunately, I do not get recognized (except occasionally in the Gap by teenagers) - so I can, and do, know how to enjoy a big meal. (Note to self: The food in Wilmington, North Carolina is fabulous. Start diet on Monday.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

World Team Sports - Disabled Athletes

I attended an event hosted by World TEAM Sports at Boston University last weekend, where kids of differing races, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, and physical abilities, joined together to play wheelchair basketball, indoor soccer, and golf (learning from a golf pro who had only one arm). They also heard from a one-legged Iraq war veteran describe losing his leg when his vehicle was struck by an IED, but then how he began to press on with the business of life.

As a board member of World TEAM Sports (which serves disabled athletes), I saw first hand how inspiring it was to see a little girl afflicted by multiple sclerosis with braces and crutches, swing her legs around, trying to get to get her feet on the soccer ball - and how none of the kids gave her a break, treating her like a real kid. She hustled as fast as she could, leg braces flying with a grin that stretched from ear to ear. Another little girl, a redhead missing most of her left arm, doggedly fought her way up to the top of the indoor climbing wall, a task all the more inspiring as many of the able-bodied kids her age were unable to get to the top. Kids heckled and cheered each other on, with teams which mixed suburban wealthy kids with inner city kids, blue eyes with brown eyes, different languages and skin color and physical abilities - and it occurred to me how wonderful and remarkable this event was, not just for the disabled children, but for my own children as well.

My good friend Sandy Kendall, a world champion in the sport of rowing, good-naturedly volunteered for the event - and her blog can be found here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Sopranos Finale

I have started a new mob comedy, partly based on complete fiction and partly based on stories my grandmother used to tell us about the Mazzio side of the family. According to my nana, my grandfather came from Sicilian thieves and crooks. She would typically remind us of this fact when my grandfather got out of line, which was fairly often.

That being said, my grandfather's brother, Johnnie Mazzeo (don't ask how the spelling changed), truly did own one of those big blue car carriers which could transport up to 20 automobiles. The funny thing was this - he was not a car dealer.

And so it is with great anticipation that I await the final episode of The Sopranos. I am not sure they can top last week's carnage (and frankly, the best episode of the entire series), but here's hoping.


Friday, June 8, 2007

New England Cable News

For those who may watch New England Cable News (now NECN), I am on tonight with Jim Braude on Newsnight at 7pm EST - for my monthly appearance on Jim's quiz show. Although I have been known to win a NECN coffee mug (this was a highlight), more often than not, I think I am invited solely for the purpose of heckling the other guests. Ciao.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Title IX

Many thanks to Katelyn Aitcheson, a senior at Union College, who sent me her 70 page senior thesis on Title IX, quoting A Hero for Daisy. Katelyn traces the legislative history of Title IX and the enforcement of Title IX nationwide, as well as at Union College, specifically. As promised, Katelyn will get, courtesy of our friends at LIFE IS GOOD, a daisy hat.

Also - the Women's Sports Foundation has released a new report on the state of gender equity - and unfortunately, the report shows great disparities between the money and resources allocated to women at the college level as opposed to men's sports. Both Katelyn's thesis and the Women's Sports Foundation report will be posted shortly at on our Title IX resources page.

In other news, Lemonade Stories screens in the UK at the Swansea Bay Film Festival - and then on to broadcast television in New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the Middle East later in 2007. Also - this month, Apple Pie will circulate as film of the month for Spiritual Circle Cinema.

Monday, May 28, 2007


It is with joy and sadness that we celebrate the life and spirit of Jane Smith, the mother of Kay Koplovitz (founder of USA Network), who passed away last month at the age of 93. Jane gave Kay the confidence and independence to be herself, without excuse - and always encouraged Kay that she could achieve whatever it was that she wanted, even in the days when the barriers to women's achievement were so daunting. Jane appears in LEMONADE STORIES - and had such spunk and verve, even in her 90s. She swung a golf club, talked about Kay's mischievous days, voiced her opinions about the writers of DAYS OF OUR LIVES (she was less than pleased about the story line direction they were going in), and bear hugged Kay at the end of the interview. To Jane Smith and all of our mothers who instilled in us a belief that anything is possible, we thank and love you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Miss Porters and Scene First Film Festival

I was at Miss Porters School a few months ago, screening A Hero for Daisy and talking with the girls at a school-wide event... and no surprise, I found the girls energetic, articulate, and thoughtful. Long time head of school, Burch Ford, just announced her retirement. Burch has done amazing work both with and for generations of girls - and she will be greatly missed.

This photo was taken this spring - I am in the center on the floor - surrounded by the stupendous Miss Porter's Rowing Team, which inaugurated their new boathouse earlier this year.

Next up - I have the privilege to do a work-shop/panel discussion for the newest hippest film festival, Scene First, which debuts in North Carolina, June 14-17th. In the interest of full disclosure, I am on their board of advisors. This film festival is the first of its kind - devoted exclusively to student film works. So for those of you in school who have made shorts, films, music videos, animated works - now is your opportunity to showcase your inspirations. The website is: In attendance during the festival will be: Gary Winick (director of Charlotte's Web and 13 Going on 30); Alan Blumquist (executive director of Walk the Line, Chocolat, Cider House Rules); Rick Butler (production designer - Philadelphia, 28 Days, The Talented Mr. Ripley); Ben Palmer (founder - The Barbarian Group, award winning interactive agency); and others.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Nobles Crew

Best of luck to our friends at Nobles Crew, who will be watching A Hero for Daisy tonight at a team picnic. Nobles will be racing Groton this weekend. A shout out, also, to Hanover High School's junior varsity girl's crew who will be watching Daisy in the very near future to psych up for one of their races.

For those of you who are American Express cardholders - we would love it if you would log onto and vote for one of our upcoming projects, labeled on that site as: INSPIRING KIDS TO BECOME ENTREPRENEURS AND ADVENTURERS (Project ID 762 - type this into the search box for Project ID), which is a project to inspire inner city teens to start their own businessses, equipping them with the skills to become entrepreneurs, adventurers, risk-takers, and out-of-the-box thinkers. We are working with the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship on this project, which teaches low-income teens to think like entrepreneurs so that they can take control of their own futures. PS: The site is very slow.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Lemonade Stories

For those of you who may be travelling abroad, Lemonade Stories will be airing in New Zealand on Maori TV this spring. The film aired nationwide in Israel (on Noga in February) - and will also air on Alhurra in the Middle East as well as TVB in Hong Kong later this year. will be broadcasting a Mother's Day special radio report, featuring Lemonade Stories and yours truly. 7pm on May 13, 2007 on 88.1 FM (in Providence RI) or on

Many thanks to all of you who keep visiting and our various film websites. Thanks also to Jim Laughlin and our friends at Life Is Good, who supplied us with DAISY hats for students who are writing papers on Title IX and A Hero for Daisy. Any student writing a paper - email us at and we'll get a hat out to you. Free.

Thanks also to Isabella Tangherlini - age 8 - who thoughtfully designed an alternative logo for 50 Eggs Films.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Master's Women's Hockey

Congratulations to our friends and customers, VINTAGE VERMONT, a group of masters women (age 50 and over) who came in 2nd place at the most recent USA Hockey Tournament in Florida. Susan Shane wrote to say that the team watched A Hero for Daisy together the night before the tournament.

Also - congratulations to Hannah Lawrence, Allie Emrich, and Lauren Lewis, high school students in Cleveland OH, who won a prize for their US History Project on the story of Chris Ernst, A Hero for Daisy, and Title IX.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Michigan Title IX Law Suit

A customer from Flint Michigan recently emailed me. "DID YOU HEAR?" she asked. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by the Michigan High School Athletic Association in their long running legal battle to fend off requirements to create equal playing conditions for high school girls. Nearly a decade ago, a number of parents in Grand Rapids noticed that, among other things, high school girls were forced to play out of season, on inferior playing fields, and on abbreviated schedules. These parents, headed by Dianne Madsen, Jay Roberts-Eveland, and Connie Engel, banded together to form Communities for Equity (

CFE, several years ago, went to considerable effort to bring me, along with A Hero for Daisy, to Grand Rapids, Michigan, just as their lawsuit was in its infancy. They, along with the Michigan Women's Foundation, organized a number of events, including an overflow capacity crowd at Grand Valley State University (where hundreds of high school girls were bussed in to see A Hero for Daisy); Calvin College, and Aquinas College. It was a week that I will always remember - I was so moved by the energy and excitement and enthusiasm of these young female athletes - as well as the dedication and tirelessness of their parents who were willing to take on an entrenched and outdated athletic system - so that their daughters would have the same opportunities and facilities that their sons enjoyed.

The Association lost the lawsuit filed by CFE in 2001 when US District Court Judge Richard Alan Enslen, in a 30 page opinion, ruled unequivocally that the Assocation had violated Title IX as well as the 14th Amendment of the Constitution as well as Michigan's own constitution. Unfortunately, the Assocation continued to insist that making such changes for girls would be an undue burden - filing two losing appeals with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and most recently, an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. What is remarkable is that these same parents withstood years of costly and draining legal challenges mounted by the Association (from 2001 until last month) - long after their own daughters graduated from high school.

CFE, Diane, Jay, and Connie have created an enduring legacy, not just for Michigan girls, but for all of our daughters - and we salute them. For more on this historic challenge, check out The Detroit News coverage.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Welcome to the blog of Mary Mazzio and 50 Eggs Films.

We encourage reviews, thoughts, and comments here on any of our films (A Hero for Daisy, Apple Pie, or Lemonade Stories) - as well as issues relating to our films, being entrepreneurship, athletics, overcoming obstacles, Title IX, parenting, motherhood, politics, social change, the economy, religion, starting a business, starting a car, or any relevant issue of the day.

As an update for what is happening here at 50 Eggs Films, our most recent film, Lemonade Stories, which explores how mothers ignite entrepreneurial spirit in their sons and daughters (featuring Richard Branson (founder of Virgin); Arthur Blank (founder of Home Depot); Russell Simmons (Def Jam); Kay Koplovitz (USA Network); Tom Scott (Nantucket Nectars); Billy Starr (PMC); and Kelly Reinhart), aired nationwide in Israel last week - and will be broadcast in Hong Kong and the Middle East in the Spring of 2007.

Our friends at NFTE (the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship) are including the film in their curriculcum for educators this year - and we are working with NFTE on launching another film project, focusing on teen entrepreneurs.

On other fronts, I had the opportunity to visit both Dana Hall and Miss Porter's School last month with A Hero for Daisy. These all-girls' high schools are doing something very special - the girls I visited were extraordinarily articulate and enthusiastic.

I also visited a small elementary school this month. I don't typically speak to crowds under the age of 12 - but I took clips of Apple Pie (which features Shaquille O'Neal, Drew Bledsoe, Mia Hamm, Grant Hill, Tony/Cammi Granato, Erik Weihenmayer, among others) and we talked about overcoming obstacles. I asked the kids to write down (on a post-it note) something they would like to achieve or be better at - the array of goals was so remarkably honest. One little girl raised her hand and said she would like to be better at reading. Another little boy wanted to improve his spelling. Yet another wanted to become an Olympic speed skater. But the post-it which really moved me was by a little girl who apparently took to heart my instructions to paste the post-it note somewhere where it would be seen every day. She took it home and put it on her bathroom mirror. It said "I will become President."

Another item of note - Marci Alboher, who writes columns for The New York Times, recently penned a book: One Person/Multiple Careers. Marci interviewed me extensively for the book - and our conversation reminded me very much about how a good friend of mine, Joel Reck, once told me: "You can have everything... just not all at once." The challenge with having multiple careers and interests is to make sure you don't have so many that everything becomes mediocre. More on Marci's book can be found at

Comments, thoughts - all welcome.