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Musings: Grannies not old; they schooled our team
April 16, 2015 · Jake Krob

If you think going up against a bunch of grannies is a walk in the park, you should have laced up your shoes and taken to the hard court Sunday afternoon.

The Cedar Rapids Late Bloomers spanked a team of Mount Vernon community members. Me included.

The Granny Basketball event was a fundraiser for the local T.T.T. Chapter, with funds going toward the group's mission (including sending young women to Camp Wyoming each summer). Local T.T.T. member Sharee Lind is on the Late Bloomers team.

The group of about 20 women dominated us, winning by about 10 points in the 32-minute contest at Mount Vernon High School's gym.

My teammates were Mount Vernon police chief Mark Winder; Mount Vernon Insurance owner Tom "Boomer" Kortemeyer; Kim Benesh, an active local and successful Mount Vernon alum; Mount Vernon Bank president Dave Ryan; Mount Vernon Family Dentistry owner Ben Pospisil; and Chris Will of Elite Fitness in Lisbon.

Five months into my 40s, I joked that the game would be a bit much for a guy who's out of shape. And this former wrestler has zero basketball skills. I worried about the abilities of my teammates - namely, former wrestlers Ryan and Kortemeyer, who might remember how to do a double leg but might not be able to hit a free-throw. I didn't worry about Will (he works for a fitness center, after all), or Benesh and Pospisil (both accomplished athletes as Mustangs). As for Winder? Well, he carries a gun and a badge.

On arrival at MVHS, I found a serious team. They discussed the unique rules of this kind of basketball - you can't run, you can only dribble twice, you can't jump. It's six-on-six style from days gone by, with a few tweaks (two players from each team are defenders, two are on offense, and two are in the middle). The group warmed up, too. I was impressed with how all worked to make a few shots before the first whistle.

My teammates knew this would be difficult. After all, they hadn't played competitive basketball in awhile (since junior high for me).

And it was difficult.

The grannies can shoot ... and make shots. They can pick and roll ... without running. They can make a layup ... without their feet leaving the ground. They can defend ... without touching you.

The banter was fun, for sure. In one foul, given by the ref after I touched a "granny," the "granny" pointed out that I should watch what I was doing. After all, she said, her husband was in the bleachers.

Chief Winder got into the fun the most, delivering four "warrants" to Late Bloomers for violations like stealing. He cuffed them and walked them to the bench.

The biggest takeaway, though: These women weren't just having fun. They're solid athletes.

Most opponents were 20 years or more my senior.

Their granny moniker might make them seem old, but they're far from it.

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