love and basketball

In 2000, the film Love and Basketball came out.

Monica and Quincy are two childhood friends who both aspire to be professional basketball players. With basketball as the backdrop, Love & Basketball is a love story that celebrates a woman prioritizing her own needs ahead of her boyfriend’s, unwilling to sacrifice her basketball ambitions for love. Love. Of. Basketball.

I played intramural basketball in college. The woman’s game at the time was played half-court. Guards brought the ball up to mid-court and then passed to the forwards. I was a guard.

Following college, I had little interest in the game. It was a men’s game and frankly I found basketball itself to be boring.

Until 1996. That’s the year the WNBA was founded. The Women’s National Basketball Association. I admit the news of the WNBA sparked little interest in me at first. It was basketball after all.

Eight teams made up the league in its inaugural year of play. Houston, where I lived at the time, had a team. The Comets. League play began in 1997. The Comets won the championship the first year of play. And the second, third, and fourth years as well,

At that time I was the Interim Director of a medical research foundation located in the Texas Medical Center. During a meeting someone offered two free tickets to a Comets game. I surprised myself when I declared I’d like to have the tickets! So my best friend and I went to the game, This was during the second season of league play, and we found ourselves swept up by the speed of play and the crowd’s enthusiasm.

The rest is history.

My friend and I loved the games. We loved the team. The idea of a women’s sports league we could – and wanted – to watch, was unexpected. We bought season tickets and watched women play a thrilling game from then on. We learned what a double-double was right after a player had completed one. We were all in.

On occasion I would fly to Dallas to gather up my first granddaughter, just to fly back to Houston for a game. No one had to wonder what team was our team.

When she was in high school I’d fly her to Knoxville, Tennessee to watch the Lady Vols play. I had moved to the Georgia mountains by then and my drive to Knoxville was just a couple of hours and beautiful roads.

With coach Pat Summitt after her 1,000th win.

A few years later she went off to college, where there was a convergence I would never have imagined. The new women’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina was recruiting interest in the student population for the upcoming season. My granddaughter told the coach about how much her Nana loved women’s basketball. For the next five years I would drive the three hours to USC to watch the women play with my granddaughter.

As I write this, that coach, Dawn Staley, has won two NCAA championships and this season the Gamecocks are number one in the nation. And… she played for the Comets back in the day.

My other granddaughter is also all in for the women’s game. She grew up with a league expansion team in Seattle, the Seattle Storm. I’ve enjoyed many games with her, and her family. The team has had great success and it’s so much fun to watch!

She’s on the far left, along with her brother.

Her recent high school graduation festivities included a Storm game, of course.

All this background for a game I love and have loved with my best friend, with my family, and most especially my granddaughters.

Today I’m on my way to Houston to attend a game at Rice University this weekend. The Rice Owls women’s basketball team plays the Charlotte 49ers. Since this is my granddaughter’s freshman year, we are just getting started. I look forward to four years of Rice Owls women’s basketball.

Traveling mercies.

P.S. I’ve been hanging out in the Delta Club at Hartsfield-Jackson airport waiting for my flight. I looked up a few minutes ago. What I saw amazed me. A woman’s basketball team on the screen behind the bar.

Mt. St. Mary vs Rider

No words necessary. However, I have a huge smile on my face.

8 thoughts on “love and basketball”

  1. This one made me cry.

    Last year I was talking with my cousin Jean, who is about 15 years younger than I am and played college basketball, about the rules before Title IX. Like you, I disliked the half-court, roving guard and roving forward, rules I’d played intramural basketball under. Of course, back then we women just weren’t in proper physical condition for running up and down the court. Jean said she couldn’t even imagine how restricting that would have been. Then I told her that this didn’t end after Title IX. Under Kansas law I became a citizen of Pennsylvania when I married since was husband was still a PA resident. I couldn’t get a credit card in my name. You know… being a woman and all….!

    Houston needs another women’s pro basketball team. Meanwhile, enjoy those (full-court) Rice games!!!


  2. Worthy passion! And to experience with grands even better. 

    Safe travels.



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  3. Terrific blog! I know the story of your involvement in women’s basketball over all these years but to be able to be reminded of those experiences you’ve shared with granddaughters and best friend and see it all compressed into a single delightful blog is a joy. And we’ve sat nearly courtside at women’s college games either together or through your gifting of tickets to tournament games.


  4. Heart-warmed to know of your many b-ball adventures with many loved ones. You inspire me to make more time for this sport. (A Knoxville friend has invited me to come enjoy her Lady Vol season tickets with her. I’m THERE! …well, when I can walk again.)

    So many connections. I, too, played guard on half-court (until it changed to full-court my junior year of HS.) Growing up in Knoxville, I even got to defend against Holly Warlick (Lady Vol assistant, then coach) in my 3 years of play. We were all impressed even then.

    My parents and grandparents’ cemetery plots (8 together) include a great aunt married to a Summit. (Too bad it wasn’t a Head.)

    One of my favorite quotes was Pat’s – Discipline yourself so no one else has to. So much fun having Pat sign my copy of her final book on a book tour. I tried not to embarrass myself as a geeky fan.

    Safe travels! Try to stay off the court.


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