As I write tonight I’m watching the Iowa girls’ high school basketball championship. Ar-We-Va is losing to Martensdale St. Marys by almost 20 points. As subs replace the Ar-We-Va starters in the final seconds of the game, the starters’ disappointment in such a loss is obvious.
I can so relate. In 1971 the Rolfe, Iowa, girls’ basketball team (of which I was a part) was the only Rolfe team to ever qualify for the Iowa girls’ basketball state tournament. The team and community were thrilled when the chant of “On to State! On to State!” during the regional final game against Manson became a reality.
In 1971 there was no classification dependent on school enrollment. All sweet-sixteen qualifying teams were seeded with only one eventual champion.
In the first round of the 6-on-6* 1971 state tournament we lost by 28 points to Mediapolis. I remember being so humbled when, early in the game after Mediapolis made a basket, Mary Schulte hollered to her teammate Barb Wischmeier (whom I was guarding), “We’ve got a little one, Wisch!”
In the first moments immediately following the game we felt pretty dejected losing by so many points, especially with comments like Mary’s. However, to this day people remind us what a top-notch Mediapolis team we played, and how honored we should feel to have earned a berth at the state tournament. How true those words are.
FORTY YEARS LATER
On Saturday, April 16th, 2011, at least nine of our 12-member varsity team will reunite in Rolfe to celebrate our trip to State! Our assistant coach, other faculty, team managers and a sprinkling of JV teammates and cheerleaders from 1971 will celebrate with us. If possible, if you have ties to Rolfe (or even if you don’t) we hope you will join us that day.
We will meet at the former Rolfe school. An open-to-the-community meal will be served there from 4:00 until 6:00 PM. We’ve purposely structured the day so that we not only reunite with the team; we also want to reunite with our hometown community.
Additional festivities are planned for before and after the meal. Within the next couple of weeks I’ll post the details. If, in the meantime you are anxious to know more about the day, feel free to email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Immediately below is a photo of the 1908 Rolfe girls’ basketball team. The Centennial History of Rolfe, Iowa, 1863-1963 says, “Rolfe High School offered girls’ basketball from 1910 until 1920, the 1912 team being undefeated. The sport was resumed in 1959.” Unless I’m misunderstanding, the photo of the 1908 team and the centennial book information contradict each other.
1908 and 1971: Who is related to whom?
There are connections between the young women in these two photos. Ruth Gunderson (above) was my fun great-aunt. Sisters Anna Brinkman Vaughn and Mae Brinkman Caffrey and also Lena Wiegman Vaughn (all pictured above) are related to the two sets of sisters on the 1971 team (below): Laurie and Karen Brinkman and their second cousins, sisters Julie and Jean Brinkman.
Between now and April 16th many of my posts will likely be about girls’ basketball, more specifically Rolfe basketball. I’ve got memorabilia, at least one radio broadcast, and video footage from a few of our games.
Whether from 1971 or another time period, if you have memories about Rolfe and/or girls’ basketball, if you feel so inclined, I hope you’ll share.
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* At the time, all sanctioned Iowa girls’ high school teams were 6-on-6 teams.
(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)