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Mildred Ella Didriksen was born June 26 1914 in Port Arthur Texas Her mother Hannah Olson was born in Norway and immigrated to the United States in 1908 Her father Ole Didriksen also from Norway came to Port Arthur in 1905 and worked as a sailor and carpenter Through her adult life she was known as Babe Didrikson taking the name Babe from the sports hero Babe Ruth and the spelling of her last name Didrikson to emphasize that she was of Norwegian rather than Swedish ancestry After the 1915 hurricane hit Port Arthur the family which included her sister and two brothers moved to nearby Beaumont Growing up in the rugged south end of the city Didrikson was a tomboy who avoided feminine qualities and excelled at a variety of athletic attempts She was slim and average height but had a muscular body and was exceptionally well coordinated Her hair was cut short like a boys and she usually wore masculine clothing As a youth Didrikson had an aggressive personality and was constantly involved in fights At Beaumont High School Didrikson was well-known as being talented in a number of sports including volleyball tennis baseball basketball and swimming but she was not popular with her classmates Didrikson was a poor student usually passing only enough courses to keep her qualified for athletic competition All of her energy was pushing towards accomplishments on the athletic field where she had competition Didriksons best sport was basketball which was the most popular womens sport at the time During her 4 years in Beaumont her high school team never lost a game mostly because of her aggressive coordinated strategies and her competitiveness towards the other teams In February 1930 Colonel Melvorne J McCombs of the Casualty Insurance Company recruited Didrikson to play for the companys Golden Cyclone basketball team in Dallas She dropped out of high school in her junior year and took a job
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