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tennisIlove09
Apr 14th, 2003, 08:59 PM
Maureen Connolly Film Documentary Premieres At 2003 USA Film Festival

By Richard Pagliaro
04/15/2003

The San Diego softball field was adjacent to the tennis champion's birth site. A nine-year-old Maureen Connolly was on her way to play softball when her path took her past the cracked cement tennis courts she had bypassed countless times with little more than a glance given to them.


It was at that moment that Connolly was suddenly entranced by the game she would grow to dominant. Watching two men engaged in an enthralling rally, Connolly caught an immediate addiction to a game she had never even played. In an instant, she experience a life-altering experience.

"Time passed, but I did not move," Connolly wrote in her autobiography Forehand Drive. "It happened just like that. I made up my mind to become a tennis player, certain I needed only a racquet in my hand to vanquish any little boy or girl in the neighborhood. Overnight my life changed."

Armed with a $1.50 racquet and insatiable appetite for learning the game and a deeply-driven desire to attain greatness, the little lefthander learned to play tennis right handed. The girl who was nicknamed "Little Mo" stood only five-foot-4, but would grow into one of the greatest players in history.

Connolly's entire competitive career last less decade, but her legacy lives on. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Connolly's sweep of the 1953 Grand Slam, a documentary film, Unforgettable The Little Mo Connolly Story, will premier at the 33rd annual USA Film Festival on Friday, April 25th at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas.

Directed by Jennifer Spell, an emerging filmmaker from New York whose credits include the award-winning April In New York, Unforgettable chronicles Connolly's rise from the cracked cement courts of Balboa Park in her native San Diego through her Grand Slam sweep at the age of 18 when she won 61 of the 63 matches she played that season and surrendered just one set in claiming all four Grand Slam crowns in succession. Her superior skills were surpassed only by her pure passion to succeed.

"All I ever see is my opponent," Connolly said in her autobiography. "You could set off dynamite in the next court and I wouldn't notice. If ever a career could be given a caption, mine was 'Win! Win! Win!' "

The film also explores Connolly's courage when a horseback riding accident cut short her career at the age of 21. An avid horseback rider, Connolly was riding her horse, Colonel Merryboy, when a passing cement truck frightened the horse, which threw Connolly into a ditch. She suffered a fracture fibula and bled profusely. The cut "was big enough to put your hand into," a nurse said.

The accident effectively ended her career. "I knew immediately I'd never play again," Connolly said.

The film details Connolly's post-tennis life as she married Norman Brinker, became a mother and courageously battled the cancer that would claim her life at the age of 34.

"The talents and efforts given toward this project reflect my mother's influence in the lives of her family, friends and fans," said Cindy Brinker Simmons, daughter of Maureen and Norman Brinker. "Our family is absolutely thrilled that the documentary captures the spirit of Little Mo and that it will be part of the distinguished USA Film Festival."

A second debut of Unforgettable will be held on Thursday, May 8th at the San Diego History Museum a few blocks away from Connolly's childhood home. The museum overlooks the courts in Balboa Park where Little Mo learned to play tennis almost 60 years ago.

Rollo
Apr 14th, 2003, 09:29 PM
Thanks tennisIlove!

If this documentary ever comes out on video I want a copy for certain.
Mo was a wonder.

auntie janie
Apr 14th, 2003, 09:29 PM
OMG, I can't wait to see this film!!! I love Little Mo! :hearts:

THANK YOU for posting this, tennisIlove09!! :kiss: :kiss: :kiss: :kiss: