Ah, the words of William Shakespeare. In the play, “Julius Caesar,” a soothsayer (person who can see the future) issued that warning to Caesar just before the embattled leader was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate.
I did not even have to dust off my 5,000-page Shakespeare’s greatest hits book (also known as The Complete Works of William Shakespeare) to know wherefrom this famous phrase originated.
I did not even have to watch ten hours of “Jeopardy” for this phrase to enter my mind. “I’ll take ‘Slain Rulers with Bad Haircuts,’ for $200, Alex.”
The word “ides” references a division and, in this jaunty little phrase, refers to the middle of March – yep, March 15th – when Caesar was killed … and now, we have a great salad named after him. The End.
That is hardly the end. “The ides of March” is now used in reference to the battle of wills known as “March Madness.” Yes, beware the ides and get your college basketball tournament brackets in on time to Carl, that guy in the office who always seems to organize these things.
What is specifically interesting about the March ides is that there actually are many battles of will that happen or have happened in March.
For me, the event that comes to mind is the one that inspired Women’s History Month – cleverly observed in March. It seems that in 1857, a battle of wills occurred that helped pave the way for millions of women to be able to battle with their wills.
On March 8 of that year, women who worked in New York garment factories staged a protest over working conditions. Today, we mark the March 8 anniversary with International Women’s Day. The first observance of Women’s Day was in 1909; but Congress didn’t officially recognize it until 1981. Took a while, but it happened.
So, what is the point of my Shakespeare-inspired trip down Women’s History lane?
Caesar’s death paved the way for the Roman empire.
The strong-willed women who dared protest working conditions helped pave the way for women to stand up for our rights.
Rather than “beware” the ides, why not learn from them? Not everything has to be a battle of wills, but some things are worth it.
Women’s History Month is not just a time for women to learn about and appreciate the bravery of those who came before; this is an opportunity for everyone to learn that some things are worth fighting for.
Remember, women’s college basketball teams are part of our beloved March Madness. Many of the early pioneers of women’s college sports fought to be part of that tournament. Those strong-willed contemporaries also share credit for the rise in women’s professional sports.
We are all connected – men and women. At the end of the day, we are all just people. Respect the ides, fight the good fight. You may never know the future roads your battle may help pave.