A Beer With Shirley

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A BEER WITH SHIRLEY

Marilynn Smith, one of the four surviving founders, hosts an annual golf tournament in Arizona to raise money for girls’ golf scholarships. After some phone calls and handwritten letters, I booked a trip west to meet her and Shirley Spork, another founder. Two crewmembers joined me to capture preliminary interviews and B roll. I just wanted to meet the women, hear their stories and get started on the film.

Shirley invited me to her hotel the night before the tournament. I expected to find an 80-year-old woman sitting in an armchair, prattling on with 60-year-old anecdotes. She’d be knitting or doing some other peaceful thing.

Instead, I stumbled upon a full-fledged party. Immediately, Shirley came to the door, shook my hand and welcomed me in.

“You want a beer?”

Women of all ages filled the room, smiling, laughing and fighting for airtime as they told stories about Shirley. Current pros, past pros, novices just starting — they all shared a love for their friend and teacher.

In this moment, it hit me. This wasn’t just a story about women starting a pro sports league. This was about these women — Shirley and Marilynn — who can’t help but spread joy and make friends. From that night on, they wrapped their arms around me and welcomed me in to their ever-expanding circle. These connections carried me through difficult seasons when things felt impossible. Thus, I’m even more humbled to complete this film and share their hearts with the world.

-Charlene Fisk, Director/Editor

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