GIRLS SPORTS: A Century of Girls Basketball; and Today, Little League


A century ago my grandmother Laura was involved with something radically new: girls basketball. She reflected on it in an address she made to a graduating class at her high school fifty years later, as follows:

I would like to share a few memories of our school days. For instance, 4 of us in the class were on the first girl’s basketball team that Frewsburg High had.  And was that an innovation.  The first thing we had to do was call in a dressmaker to get outfitted in navy blue serge bloomers and white middies.  We wore big silk ties and probably big ribbon bows in our hair, which was long.  This might be in braids around our heads, in a bun at the back or a psyche knot and I don’t believe a single hair was out of place when we finished a game.  We went wherever the boys had a game and we played the opening game.  I remember going to Celeron, Chautauqua, and Randolph and we rode on the train.  All games were on Friday night.  This surely was exciting, especially if your boyfriend happened  to be  on the boy’s team.     ¶ Then the group decided they needed a cheerleader to help the boys win games.  And I was chosen it.  My 2 granddaughters , ages 11 and 12, think that is the most hilarious thing they ever heard of.  So I have tried to explain – we didn’t need to take special lessons or to put on a floor show – all you needed was a good strong voice.  And usually none of us could talk the next day.       ¶ That summer a bunch of us spent a week on Chautauqua Lake across from Celeron Park, which was a thriving place 50 years ago.  So one day we dressed up in our blue serge bloomers, white middies, tennis shoes and long black stockings and rowed across the lake to take Celeron by storm.  Did we ever feel naughty walking around like that!     ¶ This one thought I’d like to leave with the class of 1966.  The past 50 years have gone much faster than the 17 or 18 years before graduation.  The first  thing you notice –  it is 5 years since you graduated, then 10, then 20.  Your  children are graduating, then 40, then 50 and you are sitting here in the place of honor.  And by this time your grandchildren are  graduating and you wish you could just hold time a little slower.  + + + (NB: photo not from Frewsburg HS)

I was delighted last week to catch a segment of Little League World Series where Mo’ne Davis was pitching against the boys. Who says girls can’t throw? She pitched a 2-hit shutout, hurling her 70-mph fastball!

Little Leaguer, on the boys team. Photo by Gene J Puskar, AP/Photo

Little Leaguer, on the boys team. Photo by Gene J Puskar, AP/Photo