Anyone who has ever played a team sport knows that even when you stop playing, your love for the game never dies. No matter how far removed you are from your glory days, there’s always an urge inside of you to jump back onto the court. Even when you’re 80 years old.
Meet the San Diego Splash. They’re an 80 and older women’s basketball team that is a part of the National Senior Women’s Basketball Association, and the women on the team love the game just as much anyone else who plays the game. A recently released short film from espnW showcases the women’s friendships and inspiring stories. It also touches on the fact that many of the women on the team didn’t start playing until they were middle age, and it wasn’t because they didn’t want to, it was because prior to 1972 opportunities for girls to play sports were scarce.
“If you can stand up and move your legs, you’re welcome.”
"If you can stand up and move your legs, you're welcome."Meet the 80-year-old and up hoops squad that plays to win … #MondayMotivation
Posted by espnW on Monday, June 26, 2017
The woman are a part of a senior women’s basketball association, which welcomes teams of women over the age of 50. But don’t let their age fool you, these women are anything but weak. They play 30-minute three on three games, divided into two 15-minute halves, and while Marge Carl, an 87-year-old who is on the team, says it’s a good day when the team scores above 20 points, it’s not unheard of for them to score 40 points. The team, which is the oldest team in the league, has also won a few national titles.
“I was 78 years old when I got my first basketball shoes, so that was a thrill because I never played all my life, never had the chance to play,” Grace Larsen, a member of the team said in the video.
Larsen, who is 91 years old and joint oldest on the team — Meg Skinner, another team member, is also 91 — is one of many who found it extremely difficult to get involved with organized sports as a girl. When these women, most of whom are over the age of 85, were in school Title IX was still years away, so girls didn’t have the same opportunity to play sports.
Now women and girls have more opportunities to play; however, some people still have doubts that women can be just as competitive as men. And they certainly have an opinion about older women playing sports. Many of the members of Splash, some whom have been playing with the team for over 20 years, described the reactions they got from family and friends when they told their loved ones they wanted to try out for the senior team.
“A lot of my childhood friends thought I was crazy, at 66, to be playing basketball … And you know I’m the only one surviving of my childhood friends.”
Suddenly playing basketball at a competitive level doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. For many on Splash they agree with Larsen when she says, “As long as I can, I’m gonna play.”