Still catching up on January book reviews.In the early 1930's Coach Sam Babb went on a search to recruit girls for the basketball team at Oklahoma Presbyterian College. Girls basketball was big in rural Oklahoma, and Sam Babb offered farm girls the opportunity to continue playing and get a college education--something most of these girls never dreamed possible.
The girls Sam Babb recruited were used to hard work; they fed the animals, planted and harvested crops, learned to drive early in order to further aid their farming families, had outdoor toilets in many cases, and no spare money during the depression and the early years of the drought that was turning their state into a dust bowl.
An education, a dorm with indoor plumbing, and the chance to play basketball provided an opportunity none of them had expected, and the recruits were eager to take advantage of that opportunity.
Primary and secondary sources of interviews with some of the remaining team, letters, journals, scrapbooks, and newspaper articles give insight into these young women who loved the game and were willing (not necessarily eager) to undergo the strenuous practices and keep up with their college courses.
A little slow at first, but then Lydia Reeder's story of the barnstorming season that led to the 1932 AAU championship captures the inspiring story of the girls and their one-legged coach and hauls you cheering from Durant, OK through Dallas, Houston, and Galveston, TX; through tiny towns like Castor, LA, and the small city of Shreveport, La to Eureka Springs, Ark.
Aside from the continuous shortage of funds plaguing the OKC Cardinals, President Herbert Hoover's wife was actively campaigning against competitive sports for women (with a special distaste for women's basketball) and many colleges had eliminated their popular girls' teams. I was unaware of this organized campaign that thought competitive sports too strenuous and too "rough" for young women. Oh, and Lou Hoover was also totally against women competing in the Olympics.
Doll Harris, Lucille Thurman, and other members of the OKC Cardinals had mostly grown up on farms or ranches and were in no way incapable of the demands of the basketball court. In 1932, their final match was with the Golden Cyclones led by the Cyclones star player--Babe Didrikson, who later that year went on to win 3 gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Olympics . Mrs. Hoover be damned. :)
Dust Bowl Girls proved more captivating than I expected. I thought it would be interesting because I find the 1930's and the dust bowl fascinating, but when I found myself wishing I'd been in the stands for some of their games...that was more than I expected!
Algonquin Books. nonfiction. 2017. Print length: 304 pages.
I have not read the first book in this series, and it took me a while to adjust to it.
from description: From the cocreator of Deadpool and author of Suburban Dicks comes a diabolically funny murder mystery that features two unlikely sleuths investigating a murder that reveals the dark underbelly of suburban marriage.
I'm not sure what I thought of The Self-Made Widow. There were, after I began to finally get a grip on the characters, some amusing and satiric elements, but I didn't find it "diabolically funny."
Andrea (Andie) Stern and Kenny Lee, college friends who were successful in solving an important crime, have another crime to involve them. Kenny, a journalist, won a Pulitzer for his articles about their college crime-solving, but he has not lived up to his promise. Andrea, married with five kids, has begun to find the domestic situation exhausting and less rewarding than if she had joined the FBI as a profiler as originally planned. The two got back together in the first book in this series and once again they are finding crime solving as interesting and invigorating as before.
Currently, one of Andrea's friends has become a widow. At first sympathetic, Andrea begins to wonder if Molly's husband actually died of a heart attack...or was helped along by Molly?
Mystery. June 21, 2022. Print length: 400 pages.The second in the Harry Grimm series set in the Yorkshire Dales. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and liked this one as well.