Granny Fire Ants

Basketball bounces back to the past

Fire Ants are invading Georgetown! The Texas Fire Ants Granny Basketball team, that is. The group of seniors, from ages 55 to 81, is gaining attention with an “off the rocker” style of basketball. “Our friends and family think we’re a hoot, playing ball at our age,” says Granny Basketball League organizer Linda Toerper.

The league has its roots in Iowa, where six-on-six girls’ basketball was popular from the 1920s to the 1990s. The Fire Ants play by the 1920s rules, which include no running, jumping, or physical contact because it’s “a safer form of play,” says Linda. Team members wear uniforms of bloomers and blouses, harkening back to a rule requiring that ladies show no flesh above the elbows or below the knees. The Fire Ants have updated the uniform, however, with their signature antennae headbands.

Linda began recruiting in March 2014 and, mostly by word of mouth, the roster has grown to twelve players. “Reasons for getting involved run the gamut from former basketball players to those who just want to see what the team is all about. One of our players says it beats sitting around knitting or waiting to die,” says Linda.

When the Fire Ants aren’t attending weekly practices at the Georgetown Parks and Recreation Center or playing games with one of the other 25 Granny Basketball teams from five U.S. states, they can be found performing during halftime at Globetrotter games or brainstorming for future fundraising events such as the Grannies versus City Officials basketball games played in Iowa. The Fire Ants are set to make their mark on Georgetown!

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