Girls 6-on-6 Basketball Was the Only Option for Many in Rural Iowa
For many rural Iowa girls, 6-on-6 basketball was the only sport they could participate in. This segment from Iowa PBS’s More Than a Game: 6-on-6 Basketball in Iowa documentary features first-hand accounts from a player and coach of the era.
Narrator: In most rural schools, nearly all girls went out for basketball regardless of their talent, partly because people adored six-on-six, but also because it was the only game in town or on the farm, for that matter. For decades basketball was the lone sport offered to young women in small schools.
Sandy Van Cleave-Little, Montezuma High School, 1967 to 1971: It was dedication. You knew that was the only sport you had, and it was an outlet for girls in that day and age.
Larry Niemeyer, Coach 1959 - present: it doesn't get any purer than that. Those were the days you didn't care how many points you scored. You didn't worry about whether you were going to get a college scholarship. Back in those days, you did that for the love of the game. A lot of kids stayed out, even if they didn't start as a junior or senior. That doesn't happen much anymore.