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Fat 2 Fit

Granny Basketball: A League of Their Own

Camaraderie and fun on the court keeps these grandmothers playing ball and building their fitness.

Granny basketball is the rage in the Midwest, and my sister, Kay Kubik, 71, who lives in Walker, Iowa, is one of the many enthusiasts. The league's motto: "Die with your tennies on."

The game is played by women "of a certain age," with players' ages from the 60s up into the 80s. According to the Granny Basketball Association, more than 131,000 women who are at least 55 have played basketball at least 50 times a year.

The rules hearken back to the 1920s, when there were six players on a team. Two forwards play the back third of the court, the two centers the middle, and the two guards the front, basket-scoring part. There's no running (but players are allowed to hurry), no jumping, and no dunking. Players also wear uniforms based on designs from the 1920s.

Captain of her team, my sister, Kay, thoroughly enjoys the camaraderie of her 25 teammates.

"We played basketball when we were in high school," she said, "and the sound of the ball bouncing on the court makes the intervening years disappear. We do get exercise, that's for sure, but we do it for the fun." Her reasons are the same as mine: we play sports for the sheer joy of it, and the health benefits are wonderful by-products.

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