A Wichita Granny Basketball team was in the international sports spotlight last month thanks to a little improvisation by one of its members.
The ICT AeroBelles were playing an exhibition game during halftime of the Jan. 5 Wichita State Shockers game at Koch Arena when AeroBelle Carolyn Hatfield “flopped” — a basketball term for trying to draw an offensive foul on an opposing player by falling to the ground. Hatfield didn’t just go down, she rolled over several times for added emphasis.
The next day, a video of Hatfield’s flop was played on ESPN to laughter from the segment’s host and Kendrick Perkins, a former player for the Boston Celtics. “Wichita State — how about the flop here?” the host said. ESPN airs in some 200 countries around the world.
Hatfield later explained that she was simply having a little fun with “granny down” — a Granny Basketball rule that stops play whenever a player falls down.
“I thought if I’m going to do a granny down today, I’m going to make it count. Little did I know it was going to be a little more than that.”
The AeroBelles’ regular season started Jan. 27 and will feature games against teams in Kansas and Oklahoma. The team also plans to play in the Granny Basketball National Tournament, to be held Aug. 2-4 in Kansas City, Kan.
Hatfield started playing with the AeroBelles about a year ago.
“I thought either I’m going to like it or I’m not,” she said. “I love it.”
Another member has also drawn attention: Pat Conners, 91, the country’s oldest Granny Basketballer.
Other members include Hatfield, Tanya Hein, Teresa Butler, Gina McNeal, Beve Schneider, Lorrie Beck, Kim Thompson, Susan Carpenter, Linda Kibbe, Janice Urban, Denise Johnston, Sue Nyberg, Karen Baxter, Jennifer McFarland, Debbie Puga, and Tim Nyberg.
Granny Basketball is open to women 55 and older. If interested, contact Karen Baxter at email@example.com.