Jerry Summers On Lewis Grizzard - Girls 6 Player Basketball

Friday, May 20, 2022 - by Jerry Summers

In his 1983 best seller “If Love Were Oil, I’d Be About a Quart Low” the “Mark Twain of the South” discussed the now outdated six player per side game of girls’ basketball at his high school in Newnan, Ga.

For those too young to recall how the ladies’ game as played in the 1950s – 1960s Lewis Grizzard explained it as “three girls, the forwards, shot at the basket, while three others, the guards, played at the other end (across the center line).”

Because of his skinny physical frame, he first thought that he would become a member of the girls’ junior varsity team (a potential reality in 2022) but was discouraged by the romantic interests of a female grammar school classmate who had grown in a large, big-hipped athlete with blacksmith like arms who would be placed under his team’s offensive basket in an attempt to jump three inches off of the floor and score two points.

In a not too flattering description, he relates humorous episodes about the inept efforts of the female Godzilla being ejected from a game when she bellowed out an “unprintable oath” that shocked not only the entire audience but also carried to the concession stands in the hallway outside the court.

Interest in Girls’ basketball in Hamilton County was also huge in the 1950s – 1960s and the best team in the area was from a historical city in the north end of the county adjacent to the Rhea County border with a double name that also had a reputation for producing the best non-taxable liquid refreshment in the area.

Although the boys’ basketball team also enjoyed an excellent reputation during the era the girls’ squad had an all-star performer by the name of Juanita “Sis” Daughtry who could match Michael Jordan or Larry Bird’s later statistics in scoring baskets.

However, the superstar had strong competition from a substitute player as being the crowd favorite with both the fans of the area and supporters of the opposing teams.

The practice in these days in Hamilton County was that the girls’ game would always precede the boys game (sexual discrimination) and the small crowd at the first game would often vacate the premises and more fans could fill the stand in the tiny cracker box gymnasium for the second game.

Such was not the case when an opposing male squad from the now non-existing high school north of the East Lake area decided to scout their potential male opponents in the district tournament scheduled for the first week of March 1958.

Rumors had been received that there might be a possible double header feature in both games if the female squad could get a substantial lead in the game that would allow for multiple substitutes to participate in a runaway score.

 The star shooter did not disappoint the fans and achieved her normal average of around twenty-five – thirty points and the support of her other five teammates turned the game into a top-sided lead for the home team.

With the pre-dominantly male crowd roaring “put in number 7” the coach inserted a tall, lovely, blonde headed beauty who had been blessed by the Creator with certain prominent features on her anatomy that demonstrated and justified vocal fan support.

Although the male intruders had defiantly entered the arena clad in their letter jackets, their presence became almost unnoticed in the crowd anticipation of the appearance of the sophomore beauty.

Whether by specific design or by lack of financial resources the potential star attraction did not have under her outside jersey the normal undergarment that is used today to control the players ability to dribble the basketball without any physical effect on their performance.

Her efforts to “bounce” the ball down the court fortunately did not result in a violation for the “double dribble” rule but it did continue to raise a crescendo of support from the fans.

History is undocumented as to whether she became a future scoring star for her high school.

Also silent is whether her fan popularity waned when the decision was made to obtain voluntary donations to purchase a more confining undergarment.

Just think what Lewis Grizzard could have done with this true story!

* * *

You can reach Jerry Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)


Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

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