The announcement came over the intercom, “Any girls interested in starting a school basketball team should meet in the gym.” I couldn’t get there fast enough.
We were a ragamuffin bunch of tomboy girls who just wanted to play ball like the boys. Our new coach was a basic no-nonsense fundamentals kind of guy. He had us jumping and running, dribbling and passing. Coach Enlow often got frustrated with our total inexperience and sent us all home just to come back the next day and start all over again.
Since this was the school’s first girls’ season, we had no uniforms of our own, so we had to wear the boys’ old uniforms. There was no complaining as Coach handed them out, we were just happy to be where we were. The shorts were just that, short with a thick, wide waistband. The tank tops were made for boys so the girls wore a white T-shirt underneath.
Finally, we had a team.
Before our first game, Coach made an announcement, “We will be wearing white uniforms so make sure you wear the right kind of underwear.”
My team members looked at each other perplexed.
“Do I have to spell it out?” Coach asked. He most certainly did. “You have to wear white underwear under your white uniform so nothing shows through. No bikinis, no strings; I want your head in the game and not on your underwear.”
“Do they have to be white?” someone brave ask.
“Yes,” was the quick answer.”
“Can it be white with something on it?” was the next question.
“How about pink?” asked another. Suddenly, the team that had started the conversation red faced, quickly found our nerve.
We needed answers.
“Listen.” Coach finally said, throwing up his hands in exasperation. “I want big, white, plain underwear that covers everything.”
“What if we don’t have any?” was the next question asked with a bit of pride.
“Then you will have to wear your mother’s,” was the terse reply.
With that, the gym went quiet. What did he say?
For the complete column see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard