The real story here is that there was almost no story. Glenn and Carolyn Borland were of an era that did not encourage boasting. Even their kids didn’t know the half of it.
“They just didn’t talk about it,” Brian Borland was saying last week.
On a January day in 2006, Brian was visiting his parents at their home in Madison and overheard them discussing an invitation to return to Iowa, where they had grown up in small towns eight miles apart.
The invite had to do with a reunion of Carolyn’s 1956 high school girls basketball team. Carolyn’s school was in Maynard, population 458.
She asked Brian if he wanted to go with them to the reunion, which would be in Des Moines, site of the high school state tournament.
Brian went to the reunion. What he saw there, what he learned about his mother, astonished him. It set Brian on a course to learn more, which he did, about his parents, and about the phenomenon that was high school girls basketball in the state of Iowa.
At some point, Brian decided it was a story that needed to be preserved. He’s written a book, “Maynard 8 Miles,” just published, that counts among its early admirers Jim Doyle, the former Wisconsin governor. Doyle played basketball for a school team coached by Glenn Borland, and he knew Carolyn, too.
“This is the story they were too modest to tell,” Doyle writes in a foreword to “Maynard 8 Miles.”
It’s a love story and a basketball story, but it begins at a summer softball game. Glenn was 18 and about to head to the University of Wisconsin on a basketball scholarship. Carolyn Nicholson was 16 and getting ready for her senior year of high school. As star athletes, each had heard of the other — Glenn lived eight miles from Maynard, in Oelwein — but they weren’t introduced until the softball game that summer. Before long, they were dating, and married in 1957, when Carolyn joined Glenn in Madison.
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