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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.