She ran the 1966 Boston Marathon for one reason: She wanted to
change the world. Despite having her application rejected by
race officials who told her that women were physiologically
unable to run 26 miles, Gibb showed up anyway. The 23-year-old
hid in the bushes at the start, then leaped into the pack when
the gun went off and finished in 3:21:25--ahead of 290 of the
415 men who entered. Gibb ran the race again in '67 and '68 (it
was officially opened to women in '72) before focusing full time
on obtaining a law degree.
No longer practicing law, Gibb, 59 and divorced, splits time
between Rockport, Mass., and San Diego. She spends her days
sprinting along the beach, sculpting, writing and working with
charities. "I wish I had three or four lives," she says. "I'm
going to have to live to 150 to get all this stuff done."
In 1950, in Corning, N.Y., 11-year-old Kathryn Johnston tucked
her hair under a baseball cap, borrowed the name Tubby from a
comic book and became the first girl to play Little League
baseball. When word got out, her teammates didn't care, because
the first baseman was one of their best players. After the season
Little League instituted a rule forbidding girls from playing; it
wasn't abolished until 1974.
Massar, 64 and living in Yuba City, Calif., played sports in
high school, became a nurse and married. "I felt being a girl
should not stop you if you were good enough," she says. "I
didn't think it was a big thing at the time, but now I think it
Umpires are natural targets for abuse, but Postema was an
especially popular one. After graduating from umpire school in
1977, she worked her way up through the minors to become, in
'83, the first woman to climb as high as Triple A. (Two others
had had brief spells in Single A.) Postema remained perched on
the doorstep of the majors until her contract was terminated in
'89. Two years later she filed a sex-discrimination suit against
Major League Baseball and settled out of court.
Postema wrote an angry memoir, You've Got to Have Balls to Make
It in This League, but she seems to have put any bitterness
behind her. "I had good times and bad [as an ump]," says
Postema, 48, who worked as a welder but quit to care for her
82-year-old father, Phil, who has Alzheimer's. "I just count 'em
all as a great time."
She was just 20 years old when she became the first (and still
the only) woman to play in an NHL preseason game, so she didn't
dwell on the historical significance. "At the time I didn't
realize what I was doing," Rheaume says of that September night
in 1992 when she stopped seven of the nine shots she faced in net
for the Tampa Bay Lightning. "Now I look at the game, how fast it
is, how hard the guys shoot, and I can't believe I was there."
The 5'7" Rheaume went on to play six seasons in the minors and
won an Olympic silver medal with the Canadian women's team in
1998. Now 30 and the divorced mother of three-year-old Dylan,
Rheaume is the manager of apparel and special events for Mission
Hockey, an equipment manufacturer in Santa Ana, Calif. In
February she took the Mission Bettys, a team of 12- and
13-year-olds, to the Quebec International PeeWee Tournament,
whose gender line she had broken 18 years earlier. Her club, the
first all-female team in the tournament's history, reached the
quarterfinals. Says Rheaume, "It was a way for me to give those
young girls a chance like I had."
COLOR PHOTO: JASON GROW/SABA (FAR LEFT) MARATHON WOMAN Gibb says that she ran Boston "to overthrow prejudice."
B/W PHOTO: FRED KAPLAN [See caption above]
B/W PHOTO: COURTESY OF KAY MASSAR (LEFT) STEPPING UP Massar's Little League teammates accepted her because she could outplay them.
COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER [See caption above]
COLOR PHOTO: TODD ROSENBERG (LEFT) BLUE PERIOD Postema says her old job "doesn't make me who I am today."
COLOR PHOTO: RONALD C. MODRA [See caption above]
COLOR PHOTO: JULIE DENNIS BROTHERS (FAR RIGHT) ICEBREAKER The first female pro now helps girls fulfill their hockey dreams.
COLOR PHOTO: JON HAYT [See caption above]