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7th & 9th Graders Go to the Line for History

By Gary Knox 


When I walked into the Minnesota State Capitol Wednesday, February 8, 2007, I expected to hear about the broken barriers, the uphill challenges and the awe-struck accomplishments in women's sports. But, I did not expect to come face to face... with the future of women's basketball at the 21st Annual Minnesota National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The "Peach Basket Heroes" of yesterday were no doubt in the paint... smiling at how far female athletes have come.

I met four amazing students from Christ's Household of Faith School. Sierra Piepkorn, Erin Piepkorn, Camara Butler and Cameo Scheeler performed before a packed house in the rotunda. Their historical dramatization was entitled "Daughters of the Game: Standing at the Line, Shooting for the Right to Play". The play focused on the Father of Basketball-- Dr. James Naismith and the peach basket. The students described the many challenges women faced to play basketball. The young ladies' passionate performance earned a one minute standing ovation from the crowd in the capitol rotunda.


Christ's Household of Faith School Teacher Pam Alsbury said "This is an amazing topic for them because they all play basketball in our school. I think a lot of young girls don't realize where basketball comes from within the state and within the country. They had to do a lot of research. They used Marian Bemis Johnson and Dorothy E. McIntyre's book, "Daughters of the Game". They went down to the History Center and did a lot of research. They learned about "encouragements" from then supervisors to the school superintendents... about not having the girls be too aggressive. The girls discovered that the peach basket was brought to Carlton College. The presentation took a look at how far the women came to the first state tournament." 

know your history

Alsbury said "They learned about girls who used to walk three miles through the snow after a ball game and get home at 11 o' clock at night to their farm, because they wanted to play. One girl got her appendix removed, got stitched up, wore binding around her so she could play in the game. That kind of integrity and that kind of commitment to just being tough and fighting through... even when everything is against you. They've learned not to take things for granted and that you've really got to work for what you want."


Alsbury added "I think it's amazing for the history of this sports to be looked at. There are a lot of great competitors that we don't even know their name. But if you look back, if it had not been for them, we would not be where we are today. The girls have really got to know about those people... like Lisa Lissimore who was important in high school and college  basketball in Minnesota.   

 daughters of the game

 gPrep goes "one on one"


I sat down to talk with Co-Author Marian Bemis Johnson. In an exclusive interview with gPrep, this powerful women revealed her passion for the game and her inspiration for writing "Daughters of  the Game."
gPrep: What inspired you to write this book?


JOHNSON: "I was inspired to write "Daughters of the Game" because I am amongst the many women who did not get to play. Girls sports were not permitted in the high schools of Minnesota or Colleges for 30 or 40 years. So, I wanted to find out why I did not get to play. The other reason that inspired the book is, when my career turned into Athletic Director and Coach of three sports. I could not understand the attitude and animosity of the people that did not want women sports to be revived. And so, I went after answers. In the process, I uncovered the fact that there had been a huge program, and that girls in Minnesota played ball in the early 1900's. So I went out to interview them. I interviewed 80 to 100 women and their stories are wonderful. It's a social history of what it was like to be a teenager in the early 1900's. And so I think there are several reasons this book is a challenge to all ages."

gPrep: Is this a must-read for all girls?
Johnson:  "Daughters of the Game is a must for all girls. Because once they realize that a program that involves literally every school in the state was so suddenly shut down, we must not become too complacent. Because, there are still those out there who do not feel that women deserve equality in sports. This book tells why it was shut down the first time."





gPrep: Final thoughts?
Johnson  "Participation in girls sports gives girls confidence. It's a strengthening healthy thing for them to do. Young women need to know how to play as a team. They come out with leadership talents and confidence that they may not have otherwise.








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