Granny Basketball comes to Copperas Cove
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Wearing bloomers and colorful knee socks, the women who play Granny Basketball are redefining what it means to be over a certain age.
Members of different Granny Basketball teams in the Central Texas area met at the Copperas Cove YMCA Wednesday afternoon for practice.
Granny Basketball was founded in 2005 by Barb McPherson Trammell in Iowa as a new way to exercise using old rules of women’s basketball, specifically rules from the 1920s. It is also a 501c3 nonprofit organization and raises funds for community causes.
Rules of the game include playing on three courts, two dribbles, no physical contact and no running or jumping. “Hurrying” is allowed. Players wear a uniform typical of the 1920s era, with bloomers, middy blouses and knee socks to represent each team’s identity. If skin that would typically be covered during the 1920s shows, that results in a “flesh foul.”
There are currently close to 400 players on 32 teams in nine states, including Texas.
Central Texas teams include the Georgetown Fire Ants, the Round Rock Rockettes, the Harker Heights Old Glories. Both Copperas Cove and Cedar Park are trying to start up teams.
Jean Ganley, who lives in Topsey, is trying to recruit players for the Copperas Cove team, the Yellow Roses.
Ganley first heard about Granny Basketball in 2015 from a friend who played pickle ball in Harker Heights. She approached the Copperas Cove YMCA last summer about bringing Granny Basketball to Copperas Cove and was approved to meet and play at the YMCA this past winter, she said. She said she gets great joy from playing the game.
“I was a cancer survivor and I did have that joy of life that many who have terminal diseases or serious diseases experience once they’re basically cured,” Ganley said. “So, I was back to being a teenager again and I wanted to do something with that and that was shoot baskets. I have basketball goal at my farm and to join an organized team which I’d never been in before was a dream come true.”
Elke Miller lives in Copperas Cove but has played on the Harker Heights Old Glories team since 2016.
“I’d never played basketball before and I’m always up for trying something new,” Miller said.
She said she enjoys the exercise and the comradery that comes with playing with the other women.
Linda Toerper is the Texas Coordinator for Granny Basketball and sister of founder Trammell. She led the drills and exercises during Wednesday’s practice which saw members from the Georgetown Fire Ants and the Harker Heights Old Glories as well as new faces. Those new faces took a minute to get used to the rules of no jumping and no running but gradually got into the groove of playing.
“The rules, I think, are great rules for women of our age because there’s not supposed to be any running or jumping, that kind of thing, and it’s kind of designed to match where we are as senior women but it still provides a lot of exercise because it’s very competitive,” Toerper said. “You think it’s slow when you look at it, but when you’re actually out there doing it, you get good exercise.”
Toerper said she forgets her troubles when she is on the court.
“Sometimes you kind of remember how you were when you were 16 but your body doesn’t quite match that,” she added.
The game is open to women age 50 and over, with no height requirement. Toerper said the oldest member is likely 87 years old.
The Copperas Cove Yellow Roses will meet every Wednesday at 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. Players can expect to do drills and practice shooting that they might not be familiar with.
“It’s a less active shooting,” Ganley said. “They’re not doing layups, they’re not doing jumps, that sort of thing. It’s definitely a calmer form of basketball, though, when you see a game there is so much activity, and it’s so beautiful to be downcourt and watch the women moving up court to make their baskets.”
Ganley said participants don’t have to be a Copperas Cove resident to come play. She is also looking for a coach interested in sparing one afternoon a week to teach the more intermediate skills of basketball.
For more information on Granny Basketball, visit https://grannybasketball.com.