GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A group of women in Georgetown are living out their hoop dreams in their golden years.
The Texas Fire Ants play Granny Basketball. The six-on-six game takes many of its rules from the 1920’s, when women’s basketball was a very different game. It just so happens that many of the antiquated rules are tailor made for an over-50 league.
Two forwards stay near one basket, two defenders stay near the other, and two more players roam the middle of the court. Running is not allowed – though “hurrying” is – and there’s no jumping or physical contact. Or at least that’s what the rules say.
Like most of the players, Clara German, an 81-year old great grandmother of nine, admits it’s difficult at times to follow every rule. Competition simply gets too fierce. “I can never play without it being competitive,” she said with a smile.
Players also dress in 1920’s inspired uniforms. Black bloomers and middy blouses insure avoiding a “flesh foul.” Any bare legs or exposed upper arms results in a technical foul. Just like in the twenties, modesty is enforced.
The Fire Ants are one of two Granny Basketball teams in the state. The game started in Iowa and has spread to six states. Since 2008 the grannies have gathered for a national tournament. All granny teams also help raise money for charities or non profit groups.
“It keeps me young,” said 71 year old Linda Toerper, whose sister invented the sport in Iowa. “You just feel like you’re 16 when you’re on the floor again, so it’s really fun.”