Brian Borland had no idea his mother, Carolyn, was a star from a bygone era, a basketball player who lit up gymnasiums in small-town Iowa with her shooting and passing, who set scoring records that stood for years.
Borland knew his father, Glenn, had been a team captain at the University of Wisconsin in the late 1950s, known for his signature left-handed hook shot. But his mom? There was no reason to suspect she had a competitive bone in her body.
“All of her friends in Madison, her bowling buddies, her bridge club buddies, they had no idea she ever played one second of sports,” Borland said.
In January 2006, he heard his parents talking about an upcoming 50-year reunion in Des Moines, where the 1956 Iowa girls state championship team would be honored.
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In 1956, Carolyn (Nicholson) Borland, along with her sister, Glenda, led Maynard to its first girls’ state basketball title.
Borland didn’t know it then, but she helped shape the future of Iowa high school girls’ basketball. Four years after her son, Brian Borland, told her story in his book “Maynard 8 Miles,” it was announced that she will be enshrined on the big screen when the book is made into a movie in the coming years.
“It is very exciting,” Brian Borland said during a phone interview. “It was something that I have been working on. When I wrote the book, I kind of had this vision that it could be a movie because it was such a compelling story.”
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While securing a meeting with screenwriter and film producer Angelo Pizzo was a big deal, Brian Borland wasn’t sure where it would go from there.
As Borland took a seat in the living room of Pizzo’s home in Bloomington, Indiana, the Madison native couldn’t help but wonder if he’d be walking back out the door in five minutes.
In fact, his departure wouldn’t come for another six hours.
By the time Borland left, his labor of love — “Maynard 8 Miles,” a book he wrote about his parents — was one big step closer to becoming a movie. Pizzo, best known for writing the scripts for sports movies “Hoosiers” and “Rudy,” was so interested in Borland’s book that he agreed to make it his next endeavor.
“If you think about who you would want to write the screenplay to the movie,” Borland said, “he’s at the top of the list.”
Business cards for Borland’s book, which was published in 2013, promote it as a “Hoosiers” meets “A League of Their Own” story. After reading it and speaking with Borland, Pizzo saw the potential to write a movie script that was different from his previous projects.
“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.
How Pizzo chooses to write the script remains to be seen. For Borland, a key moment in the project came in 2006 at his parents’ home, where he overheard them talking about going to Des Moines to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Maynard girls basketball team winning a state title in Iowa.