Dust bowl girls The inspiring story of the team that barnstormed its way to basketball glory

Lydia Reeder

Book - 2017

"At the height of the Great Depression, Sam Babb, the charismatic basketball coach of tiny Oklahoma Presbyterian College, began dreaming. Like so many others, he wanted a reason to have hope. Traveling from farm to farm, he recruited talented, hardworking young women and offered them a chance at a better life: a free college education if they would come play for his basketball team, the Cardinals. Despite their fears of leaving home and the sacrifices faced by their families, the women foll...owed Babb and his dream. He shaped the Cardinals into a formidable team, and something extraordinary began to happen: with passion for the game and heartfelt loyalty to one another and their coach, they won every game. Combining exhilarating sports writing and exceptional storytelling, Dust Bowl Girls conveys the intensity of an improbable journey to an epic showdown with the prevailing national champions, helmed by the legendary Babe Didrikson. And it captures a moment in American sports history when a visionary coach helped his young athletes achieve more than a winning season"--

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Subjects
Published
Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2017.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"Published simultaneously in Canada by Thomas Allen & Son Limited."
Physical Description
286 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references, pages [267]-286.
ISBN
9781616204662
1616204664
Main Author
Lydia Reeder (author)
  • New recruit
  • The making of a coach
  • The field house, 4 a.m
  • A good shot maker believes in herself
  • Choctaw town
  • A man's sport
  • Weak ankles and weaker nerves
  • Barnstorm
  • End game
  • Babe Didrikson and the Golden Cyclones
  • Guts and glory
  • Next stop, Shreveport
  • Brains, beauty, and ball handling
  • A team that won't be beat can't be beat
  • A hometown welcome.
Review by Booklist Reviews

One of the more unlikely national champions in U.S. sports history was the 1932 women's basketball team from tiny, financially strapped Oklahoma Presbyterian College. Coach Sam Babb, who, probably not coincidentally, taught Psychology 101 at the school, masterfully recruited talent, solicited funding for the program, created a culture of unselfish team play, devised unorthodox but effective basketball drills, and instilled in his players the self-assurance they would need in facing public opinion that largely considered basketball "unladylike." And, more urgently, in facing (three times that season) the reigning national champion Dallas Golden Cyclones, led by legendary sportswoman Babe Didrikson. Author Reeder, Babb's grandniece, had access to such primary materials as player diaries, which reveal the players' relationships to one another and their coach, and to a dust-bowl era and region marked by serious hardship. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Now playing its 20th season, the WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association) is among America's most successful women's professional sports leagues. Yet, the struggling basketball league has only turned a profit in recent years, still working hard to put fans in the stands. In this book first-time author Reeder introduces readers to Sam Babb, a remarkable man who saw past the Depression-era thinking that sports were less "ladylike" and even considered physically inappropriate for women. Babb scoured the Oklahoma farmlands looking for young women who would accept his offer of a college education; in return, he molded them into a team that exceeded all expectations. Equal parts social history and sports legend come to life, Reeder's meticulous research and play-by-play game accounts are a fitting tribute to Coach Babb and the trailblazing athletes he inspired. Of special interest for students of women's studies and a strong contender for a film adaptation. VERDICT With high appeal to sports fans and historians, this hidden gem of a story deserves a place in all public library collections.—Janet Davis, Darien P.L., CT. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Reeder, a former editor at Whole Life Times, tells the inspiring story of Oklahoma Presbyterian College basketball coach Sam Babb's efforts to create and maintain a championship women's team, the Cardinals, amidst the hardships of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. Discussing both Babb's coaching philosophy and the players' individual stories, Reeder explores the charm and excitement that the small team of unknowns brought to their hometown of Durant. In equal parts personal homage to Babb (the author's great-uncle) and surprising underdog story, Reeder recounts the Cardinals' journey from humble beginnings to becoming the 1932 American Athletic Union national tournament champions. They demonstrated the perseverance necessary to overcome the political and financial difficulties facing women in sports. The descriptions of the political strife and characterizations seem forced and caricatured at times, but when the story turns to basketball season, Reeder relaxes into comfortable and engaging storytelling. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

In the early 1930s, Sam Babb recruited farm girls to play for his basketball team at Oklahoma Presbyterian College in Durant. At the time, most women's teams were sponsored by the companies for whom the players worked. Some, including Lou Henry Hoover, wife of President Herbert Hoover, thought that competitive sports were not an appropriate activity for young women. But Coach Babb knew that basketball helped participants develop critical thinking and good judgment. He also believed that a winning team could bring a whole community together and raise spirits that had been battered by the Great Depression. Reeder employs player interviews and scrapbooks to tell the true story of the Cardinals, who in 1932 became the first women's collegiate team to win the American Athletic Union's National Basketball Tournament. Her personable narrative is as much about the daily lives of the players as it is about the sport of basketball, and young adults will love details that bring the time and place to life (for example, because many of the players came from farms with no indoor plumbing or electricity, the hot water in their college dorm seemed extravagant). VERDICT Useful for curriculum support, this compelling offering makes for good recreational reading, too. Hand it to fans of A League of Their Own or to anyone who relishes a good sports underdog tale.—Hope Baugh, Carmel Clay Public Library, Carmel, IN Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Traces the Depression-era efforts of a charismatic basketball coach from tiny Oklahoma Presbyterian College who recruited talented young women to join his hope-giving basketball team in exchange for a prospect-bolstering college education.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Traces the Depression-era efforts of a charismatic basketball coach from tiny Oklahoma Presbyterian College who recruited talented young women to join his basketball team in exchange for a prospect-bolstering college education.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"At the height of the Great Depression, Sam Babb, the charismatic basketball coach of tiny Oklahoma Presbyterian College, began dreaming. Like so many others, he wanted a reason to have hope. Traveling from farm to farm, he recruited talented, hardworking young women and offered them a chance at a better life: a free college education if they would come play for his basketball team, the Cardinals. Despite their fears of leaving home and the sacrifices faced by their families, the women followed Babb and his dream. He shaped the Cardinals into a formidable team, and something extraordinary began to happen: with passion for the game and heartfelt loyalty to one another and their coach, they won every game. Combining exhilarating sports writing and exceptional storytelling, Dust Bowl Girls conveys the intensity of an improbable journey to an epic showdown with the prevailing national champions, helmed by the legendary Babe Didrikson. And it captures a moment in American sports history when a visionary coachhelped his young athletes achieve more than a winning season"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

“A thrilling, cinematic story. I loved every minute I spent with these bold, daring women whose remarkable journey is the stuff of American legend.” —Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy The Boys in the Boat meets A League of Their Own in this true story of a Depression-era championship women’s team. In the early 1930s, during the worst drought and financial depression in American history, Sam Babb began to dream. Like so many others, this charismatic Midwestern basketball coach wanted a reason to have hope. Traveling from farm to farm near the tiny Oklahoma college where he coached, Babb recruited talented, hardworking young women and offered them a chance at a better life: a free college education in exchange for playing on his basketball team, the Cardinals.   Despite their fears of leaving home and the sacrifices that their families would face, the women joined the team. And as Babb coached the Cardinals, something extraordinary happened. These remarkable athletes found a passion for the game and a heartfelt loyalty to one another and their coach--and they began to win. Combining exhilarating sports writing and exceptional storytelling, Dust Bowl Girls takes readers on the Cardinals’ intense, improbable journey all the way to an epic showdown with the prevailing national champions, helmed by the legendary Babe Didrikson. Lydia Reeder captures a moment in history when female athletes faced intense scrutiny from influential figures in politics, education, and medicine who denounced women’s sports as unhealthy and unladylike. At a time when a struggling nation was hungry for inspiration, this unlikely group of trailblazers achieved much more than a championship season.