This week Dr. Joyce Brothers passed away at the age of 85. She was best known for being the go to psychologist on major media networks giving her opinions on marriage, sex, and love. She was a long time advice columnist for Good Housekeeping and, of all things, a boxing fan. Perhaps fan is not the right word, lets think more along the lines of expert.
Early in her career her husband had given her an idea: to go on the popular TV show “The $64,000 Question” as a boxing expert thinking that a woman versed in the sport of boxing would be something of a novelty for the viewers. Brothers, became a practicing psychologist after obtaining her masters from Columbia University in 1958, thought it was a great idea. Promptly, she got to work on memorizing twenty volumes of Encyclopedia of Boxing and completed the task in just a few weeks.
The producers of the game show were astonished with Brothers’ knowledge, not having been a lifetime fan she only memorized the volumes for the purposes of the show, they “threw the book at her” and came up with tough questions only the most educated boxing fans would know. She went on to win the show, three times. Her success on the quiz show opened doors and launched her career in the media. She landed a spot on the show “Sports Showcase” and began appearing on talk shows quite often, which got the attention of media executives. She was given her own talk show where she doled out advice on all kinds of issues. Boxing had given her a start to a long and illustrious career.
Upon learning this I got to thinking, as a woman in boxing the most frequently asked question I get is “how did you get into it?” Every woman in the sport has a different answer, some came from a family of boxers, or married into one, others just happened to land a job in the industry, and some started as fans and built their way up, but how many can say that boxing is how they started? Thankfully for others and myself women in boxing aren’t as mocked as they used to be, but it is still considered somewhat of a novelty when a woman holds knowledge. If only this story of Dr. Brothers was more well known we would be able to flaunt our knowledge and not have to defend it.