In a new film that premiered last night on the SEC Network, “Mighty Ruthie,” former Sacramento Monarchs player Ruthie Bolton shared her story of how her career on the court starkly contrasted with her life away from it.
Bolton played her college ball at Auburn and was a member of two gold medal-winning United States women’s basketball teams. She was part of the team that won gold in 1996 in Atlanta as well as the 2000 team in Sydney.
She played in the WNBA from its first season, 1997, until 2004 with the Monarchs. Bolton averaged nearly 20 points a game in her first season in the WNBA as well as 10 points per game for her career.
The film was directed by Nancy Stern Winters and Lisa Lax. One startling detail of the film that Bolton says she kept a secret for a long time was that she was in an abusive marriage.
When talking with ESPN’s Cari Champion, Bolton felt that now was the right time to share this part of her life story.
“I just want to be someone to empower,” Bolton said. “In my basketball years, I played basketball and I felt like I empowered, and I had that mighty spirit on the court. But, now I just want to be mighty in my work ethic off the basketball court and I want to be able to empower women—empower kids. Whomever that I come across, I’m about empowering people to be the best that they can be.”
— Tamika Catchings (@Catchin24) May 23, 2016
Sharing any story such as this, especially for a woman, can be a very daunting task, especially given the attitudes of many people on domestic violence. Bolton’s nickname was “Mighty Ruthie,” and she has lived up to it once again.
One can only imagine what her life was like at the time and how she had to endure what she went through in her life away from the basketball court while still in the throes of a professional career.
Her story should serve as one of perseverance through difficult times, but it should also be another that sheds light on the epidemic of domestic violence and why women should continue to have the courage to walk away from such untenable circumstances.
If you missed the film’s premiere, “Mighty Ruthie” airs again on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. ET on the SEC Network. It will also air on Tuesday night at 9:00 ET on ESPN2 after its broadcast of the Los Angeles Sparks vs. Chicago Sky.
(Original story: ESPN)