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Story Time: Tomboys and trophies

Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2024 at 7:40 pm

By Lorry Myers 

The history of sports for girls in my hometown is a typical story of changing times.

Before World War II, girls played half-court basketball, but after the war, girls sports in small schools was never restarted. Before the days of cell phones and yoga pants, girls were required to wear dresses, take typing, and learn all they needed to know in Home Economics. Finally, a mandate about equality in extra-curricular activities was about to become national law. As a result, early in my junior year, an announcement came over the intercom that the school was starting a girls basketball program. All interested were encouraged to meet the next day.

I was the first one there.

Of the ragtag bunch of girls that showed up, most of us had brothers or were tomboys looking for something more. While the boys practiced after school, the girls were in the gym by 6:00 am., Saturdays, too. We ran plays, we dribbled, we practiced our shots.

We had a great time.

A week before our first game, Coach Enlow announced that the school had no girl uniforms so he gave us the JV boy’s practice jerseys that we would wear over white t-shirts. Even if we had to do it in the boy’s uniforms, that first girls team didn’t care.

We just wanted to play ball.

That first season, Centralia girls played eight games, won five and took home a trophy in a tournament. In our high school yearbook, there we are in our hand-me-down jerseys and smiles on our faces. Our games were not well attended; mostly parents, the coach’s wife, and the bus driver who got us there. Students didn’t fill the gym and the pep band didn’t play.

We didn’t care about that either.

For the  complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard