On her high school playing field, fifteen-year-old tomboy Billie Carol (Patty Duke) shares her track techniques with new boy Mike Benson (Warren Berlinger.) As she outshines the boys at running, hurdles, and high jumps, she catches the eye of Coach Jones, (Charles Lane,) who invites her to try out for the all-male track team. This directly contradicts the public stance her father Howard (Jim Backus) has taken, in his candidacy for mayor, that girls should not compete with boys. (This is 1965.) But Dad's reservations collapse under his amusement and pride when Billie stands up to her outraged sexist principal by stating her constitutional rights. Risking the electorate's taunts of flip-flopping, Dad promptly changes his stance and backs her up.
Billie aces the time trials and makes the team. Considering Mike her friend, she teaches him her special technique - listening in her head to "the beat," an accelerating rhythm that motivates her to greater speed - by dancing for him on her patio; and, unintentionally, entrances him. After Life Magazine snaps pictures of her for a human interest story, and Coach Jones asks her to teach "the beat" to the entire team, Mike escourts her to a party. As he dances with her, and confesses his jealousy at seeing her with other boys, the girl in her awakens. She floats dreamily home. The next time they are on the track, she lets him outshine her. But when he asks her to quit the team so the guys won't laugh at him, she's incensed, and vows to run him into the ground at the next track meet. And she does. She wins the sprint, hurdles, javelin, pole vault, and relay race.
Her father, meanwhile, achieves his own victory by defusing the incumbent mayor's bombshell about Billie's pregnant sister - thanks to Billie bluntly informing him of her sister's equally secret marriage - and wins the position of mayor. Still mad at Mike, Billie asks her dad to be her "date" at his victory party. But while she spiffs up for the party, her Dad gives Mike tips on approaching her assertively. And when Mike asks her to go with him instead, Billie rediscovers her joy at being a girl.
The review of this Movie prepared by vjm