A New Kind of Basketball
JEFFERSON CITY -- It's not everyday one gets to see a group of grandmas in a gym, much less on a basketball court. Basketball is an ageless game and these Jefferson City grandmas embrace it. They play a game called "Granny Basketball" a game with many laughs and many rules.
Lura McAllister, a granny referee constantly reminds the players of the important rules,"there are three main rules...no running, no touching, and no jumping," McAllister said.
The grandmas who choose not to cut their nails must wear gloves in order to prevent scratching other players and also to try to avoid any injuries. All of the rules are enforced to guarantee saftey for the grandmas.
While the game is played for fun, that does not mean there is any shortage of competition. Granny Captain Marilyn Rickard has kept her competitive edge, and at times, has gotten a little too caught up in the action. "I have not been able to play since July 17th when I was in Chicago playing for an expo before the WNBA Sky," said Rickard. "I sat there and I fell down in the middle of the court in front of everyone, and I broke my arm."
Granny basketball is for those that never had the chance to play sports when they were younger, giving them an opportunity to be a part of a team. Around half of the players never played basketball in high school because they graduated prior to the creation of Title IX in 1972.
"They give out letters and we have our number on our jersey," Cynthia Quetsch, a player since 2011 said while describing her team.
The grannies usually play for fun, but Saturday night they played against local Jefferson City pastors in a charity game that benefitted Common Ground. "Common Ground is a community center that was started by our church and is supported by five other parterning churches in Jefferson City that offers a variety of services to the neighborhood," director Kristen Hilty said.
In a game that mattered the pastors beat the grannies 23-13. The grannies are already planning for redemption next year.