DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Dubuque Courtside Cuties give new meaning to the term “granny shot.”
Despite the fact that many of them are more than 60 years old, very few of them employ the underhand method to make shots in basketball.
The team recently played its first games of the season, and only one granny shot was attempted, which was almost immediately swatted to the ground.
It is one of the many things that attendees of a granny basketball game are surprised by, along with the uniforms that consist of a black tie, baggy sweatpants and pink-and-blue striped socks.
“I think people have a lot of fun watching us,” Bev Brewer, the team’s captain and founder, told The Telegraph Herald . “We always make sure to have fun, but we don’t mess around.”
The Courtside Cuties have been the official Dubuque granny basketball team for the past six years.
The team’s 15 players range in age from 52 to 79. But age rarely affects the way they approach the game.
“We put in a lot of hustle out there,” said Mary Kretz, 75, who plays center. “My family doesn’t say granny is crazy for doing this, but I’m sure the thought has crossed their mind.”
Besides the requirement that all players must be at least 50 years old, granny basketball operates a little differently from the traditional rules of the sport.
Players only are allowed to dribble twice before they must pass the ball. There is no running or jumping allowed, which, for the grannies, translates to exaggerated walking. Players also are required to stay in their third of the court that corresponds with their assigned position.
And successful granny shots — on anything other than free throws — are always worth three points.
The Cuties recently faced off against the La Crosse Does at Courtside Sports Bar & Grill in Dubuque. The team was surprisingly aggressive with its defense. At one point, two grannies bumped into each other and one fell to the ground, prompting an in-unison yell from both of the teams.
“Granny down,” they shouted.
For most of the four quarters, it was a close and competitive game, but most members of the Cuties insist they don’t play to win.
“We honestly lose a lot, but we play for fun,” said Cathie Elsbree, 72, who plays guard. “It’s really more about being with a great group of gals and getting to play basketball.”
Brewer founded the Cuties in 2012 after seeing a couple of granny basketball players on television. Like many of the women on the team, she played basketball in her youth and longed to get back on the court.
“I always loved basketball so much,” she said. “I knew a team like this would be great for me and a lot of ladies like me.”
Every week, the Courtside Cuties practice at Eisenhower Elementary School, and during the summer, they travel throughout Iowa to compete in granny basketball games.
For many of the players, the excitement of being back on the court brings back the same feelings they had of playing basketball in high school.
“It really makes you feel young again,” said Deb Kipper, 57. “I didn’t think I’d be playing basketball again at this age, but here I am.”
In the tight battle against the Does, the Cuties came up short, 57-52. But another game loomed just hours later. Several of the grannies quickly grabbed their gear and strolled over to the stands to say hello to their grandkids.
Along with sharpening their basketball skills, Brewer said many teammates also formed strong friendships.
“We get a lot more out of this than just the basketball,” Brewer said. “We’ve become a pretty close group of gals.”
Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com
An AP Member Exchange shared by The Telegraph Herald.