Six Monumental Sports Moments In Last 60 Years

My mother made a huge impact on the history of women’s high school sports back in the 1950s. Some of the moments she created on the court will be unforgettable in Iowa history and forever etched into the record books.

 

Over the past 60 years, a lot has changed in sports and here are six worth mentioning.

 

1960s: Muhammad Ali won a gold medal for boxing in the 1960 summer Olympics.

1970s:  Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s lifetime home run record in 1974.

1980s: Michael Jordan led the Bulls to a win against Cleveland in 1989 with a buzzer  beater shot which became an iconic moment in his career.

1990s: Kerri Strug landed her iconic vault with a broken ankle to take the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team to gold in 1996.

 

2000s: Michael Phelps took home eight gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

2010 – Present: Tiger Woods wins the 2019 Masters after 22 years.

 

Happy National Siblings Day

Although it may seem like an ordinary spring day for some, April 10th is the day to recognize the special people you grew up with… your siblings. It’s National Siblings Day.

A sisterly bond is one that can’t be described in words. You are each other’s friend, coach,  teammate and voice of reason (or rebel). My mother and her sisters shared this bond and continued to hold onto it throughout their lives.

 

The Nicholson sisters encouraged each other on and off the court. Without this support, my mom wouldn’t have been able to do what she did for the Maynard basketball team.

Letter From Sylvia Froning Mundt

In late February I received a letter from Sylvia Froning Mundt, a player on the Garrison high school basketball team in 1956. Sylvia played against my mother Carolyn and said: “She dominated the game as an out-forward with her quick moves, fakes and drives to the basket, with only two dribbles.”

Here is Sylvia’s letter in its entirety:

Info on Glenn Borland Jr.

Glenn Borland Jr., grew up in Oelwein, Iowa, just eight miles from my mother Carolyn. He was adopted by his parents Glenn Sr. and Linda as a three-month-old.

Like my mother, he too played and excelled at basketball. He went on to play college basketball for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, where he served as team captain and played against the likes of Wilt Chamberlain.

After graduating, Glenn, Carolyn and their three kids lived primarily in Madison, where Glenn was a prominent educator and academic administrator.

He passed away in March of 2016.

About Maynard, Iowa

Most of the story takes places in northeastern Iowa, where we find the towns of Maynard and Oelwein. Both are small and rural, greatly shaping the lives of the people in this book.

In the 1950’s, Maynard wasn’t big enough to have a traffic light. Main Street was only about a block long and the town had the bare essentials of what constituted as a town: a gas station, diner, bar, bank, school and a park. The Volga River, one of the few rivers in North American that flows from south to north, runs through Maynard. The town was like many others around it.

Now, the town has more than 500 people.

Evolution of Women’s Basketball

Rules

Women’s basketball was created in 1891 but until 1990, it was seen as a very limited contact sport. Of course, through the 50’s and 70’s, the sport became extremely complicated and was named “Six on Six.” Here, only 3 girls were forward court and allowed to shoot. The other 3 were guards that had to remain on the opposite side of the court. After Title IV, five athletes could go onto the court and play both offense and defense. Now, the rules for women’s basketball are the same as men’s at all levels. It wasn’t until 1969 where women’s basketball was offered at a collegiate level.

Uniforms

1920’s

Uniforms were made of wool since there was hardly any trace of athletic fashion in the early 1900’s. Skirts were long and heavy, and the look was typically accompanied by a tied garment around the neck in the earlier years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1940’s

The long skirts were ditched for less-restrictive clothing for physical activity.  Cotton was still being used as the main uniform material. Bottoms were originally worn with belts until elastic came along. Shorts were no longer mid-length. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1950’s

Uniforms finally switched over from the original heavy wool for something a little more breathable, according to an Athletic Shop article. Nylon and polyester materials were used to make these new uniforms consisting of shorter skirts and a cropped shirt. Elastic was incorporated into the skirt design so belts were no longer needed. However, women were required to wear knee pads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1970’s:

Although knee pads were no longer required, athletes wore iconic high tube socks that still remain a staple athletic piece today. The recognized sleeveless jersey started to become more popular. 

 

 

 

Today

Now, basketball jerseys are made up of 96-100% polyester and the shorts are knee-length. The material is extremely breathable and athletes are able to move about freely. Basketball socks, although the socks aren’t as tall, they are typically worn with supportive basketball shoes.

Recap of Trip to Des Moines

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to partner with the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) and attend the Iowa Girls High School State Basketball Championship. I not only got to witness great girls basketball but promote my book and what it means to be an #IowaGirl.

It was the 100th-year celebration of the tournament, which could not be more fitting for the occasion. My mother would have been so thrilled to see how her story has changed girls basketball in Iowa and to see how it’s transformed today.

My aunt Glenda, who played with my mom on the 1956 championship team, was able to attend the tournament with me as well.

Thank you to everyone who was able to stop by our booth and special thanks to everyone who took interest in my story, including KCCI, We Are Iowa, The Gazette, KXnO (starts at minute 27) and WHO TV.

History of 6-on-6 Basketball

In honor of attending the 100th IGHSAU’s Girls State Basketball Championships this weekend, here is a brief look at how 6-on-6 basketball began.

Iowa 6-on-6 basketball originated in Dubuque in 1898. The rules of the game were transformed by the National Committee of Women’s Basketball in 1899 after a year of playing by 5-on-5 standards. 6-on-6 basketball was competitive, fast-paced and encouraged physical play among all players. The sport’s popularity grew statewide and in 1920, 24 teams of girls competed in the first girls’ basketball state tournament.

A few years later, the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) decided sports were not fit for girls, so 6-on-6 basketball was almost completely eliminated until the Iowa girls high School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) was formed. Girls’ basketball continued to grow, and by the 1950s, more than 70% of all Iowa girls played 6-on-6 basketball.

In 1972, Congress passed Title IX which aimed to give equal treatment to men and women in schools. This law allowed girls to play in all sports by 1975, but unfortunately also ended 6-on-6 basketball. Although it may be gone, 6-on-6 basketball will always be remembered as the game that gave over 1 million girls the opportunity to play competitive sports and will forever remain a legacy in the state of Iowa.

About Angelo Pizzo

Legendary screenwriter Angelo Pizzo has signed on to write the script based on the ‘Maynard 8 Miles’ book.

Pizzo, who grew up in Bloomington, Ind., is best known for ‘Hoosiers’ and ‘Rudy.’ In his early years, Pizzo attended Indiana University and received his bachelor’s degree in political science, while later attended film school at the University of Southern California.

I really connected with Angelo, as our first meeting lasted around six hours.

“I loved Brian’s book and thought immediately that here was an opportunity to write a sports story from the female vantage point, something I’ve never done,” Pizzo said in a statement.

Since then, we have been in constant contact about the screenplay.

Five-Year Anniversary

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Today, February 11, 2019, marks the five-year anniversary of Maynard 8 Miles being published.

As we move forward in this journey, I want to thank everyone who has been involved by either reading the book, sending their words of encouragement or shared their personal stories. I look forward to what the next five years will bring.

For now, I’m looking forward to attending the Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament Feb. 28-March 2. Feel free to stop by my booth Thursday-Saturday to pick up your copy of the book.