Granny basketball offers on-court fun, friendship

La Crosse Does recruiting players
Granny basketball offers on-court fun, friendship

A women’s basketball league is working to expand and start a team in La Crosse. Players don’t need experience, but there is a catch: They must be 50 years or older.

De Soto resident Barbara Trammell said she started Granny Basketball by accident.

In 2005 when still living in Iowa, she got some friends together for a three-court exhibition game, but after that, no one wanted to stop playing. So four teams turned to eight, then 16, and now there’s more than 30 Granny basketball teams in over nine states, including La Crosse.

It’s a usual Monday night at the La Crosse YMCA, complete with some unusual characters.

“People hear about it and are just so curious,” Trammel said. “We’re kind on oddity. Our uniforms are kind of weird, but we like it. People come to look at us; they just can’t imagine what it’s like.”

It’s a scrimmage game of Granny basketball, which has slightly different rules than most are used to, but perhaps even more spirit.

When asked if she’s going to win, player Lulu Miller said, “We’re going to try! But we’re going to have fun trying!”

It’s a three-court game, with no running, jumping or contact. Players get two dribbles per possession and can shoot however they like, including the granny shot.

“When you make a granny shot, which is underhanded, people go crazy,” Trammell said. “There isn’t any other kind of exercise you can talk to people and laugh and giggle. We’ve found it’s impossible to have any stress on the court.”

Now Trammell is starting a new team in La Crosse. Move over Milwaukee Bucks, because the La Crosse Does are on the court.

“I just like to play,” Linda Schmitz said. She does the leg work as the La Crosse team organizer.

“It’s a fun game, and it’s fun to get together with all the ladies,” she said.

Then there’s Miller.

“My first reaction was, ‘Oh my gosh, how are people my age dribbling a ball around the basketball court?'”

But she gave it a shot.

“I have met such wonderful new people that I would’ve never met before,” she said.

These women don’t need to see the score at the end of the game to know that, on the court, they’re winners.

“People come up to me I haven’t met and say, ‘Thank you for staring this, it’s so great for me. I was going through something awful, and basketball saved my life,'” Trammell said. “There’s just the camaraderie of it.”

“Some are going to hit that basket, some are going to try three, four, five times, but we’re all just out there having fun,” Miller said.

Regular season play begins in January, and there is a tournament held every year.

The La Crosse Does practice every Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the La Crosse YMCA, and are looking for more members to round out their team. No skills are necessary coming in, but the minimum age is 50.

To find out more, you can contact Trammell at 319-389-7174, contact the Y directly or visit this website.