Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Game Change

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Mama when she played basketball

When I was in high school, C-Town didn’t have basketball for girls. Happily, by the time my younger sibs were in high school, they did. And (much to Mama’s delight!) they not only played, most of them excelled.

Sister Debbie and I, though, were only cheerleaders.

Sisters Cindy and Lisa and Omega were all great players. But basketball has changed for girls so over the years! Cindy and Lisa played half-court ball. I don’t remember if Omega played half-court or full court, but she played!

And now Omega’s youngest daughter is playing.

Omega and her daughter. (Daughter doesn't wear this dress when she plays.)

Omega and her daughter. (Daughter doesn’t normally wear this dress when she plays. Or ever.)

And, not surprisingly, she’s pretty darn good. (Said her aunt who couldn’t be a bit prejudiced and couldn’t hit a basket without a tall ladder.)

So Friday afternoon, Dad and I went to watch this young’un do her stuff. Naturally, she jammed her finger before we got there and didn’t play a whole lot, but we got to see some.

While the other girls played and our Little Bit sat out to let her finger heal, Dad and I got to talking about how much bball has changed for girls.

Apparently, since they switched out the peach basket for a hoop, the guys haven’t changed all that much. But girls?

Back when Mama played–

  • Girls play half court–six girls from each team on the floor.
  • Girls could only dribble once (that’s one bounce!) and then they had to pass the ball.
  • Girls couldn’t take the ball away from one another. They could try to catch it when it was being passed, but absolutely could not try to snatch it out of their hands.

There are probably other differences, like what they wore or how they held their pinky while they served tea at half time, but those are the ones I heard about.

I asked Dad why for each of those old rules, and he had one answer for all of them. It wasn’t feminine.

Dribbling more than once wasn’t girlish? Ooookay.

I come from a long line of storytellers. Dad is no exception.

He told me about Old Ford’s team when Mama played. They had a tall girl (and great player) who had a hot overhead shot. She would hold the ball high and if a guard was blocking her,  she’d use the ball and push the other girl’s hands out of the way. And she nearly always made her shot.

And he followed that with another story.

Like today, back then if one of the girls got knocked down and lay there with her eyes closed, it stopped the game. So one girl, he said, got “knocked out,” stopping the entire game while everyone rushed to see if she were okay or if she needed a doctor.

Trouble was, while she was lying prone and “unconscious,” she forgot to stop chewing her gum.

By the way–the comment about serving tea was a joke.

I think. 😀