Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 17, 2000

Jesse, the basketball girl


One day when Jesse came home from school, she found that her grandmother was visiting.

"How do you like school?" Jesse's grandma asked her.

"I like school," Jesse said, "but I like basketball better.

Grandma was taken aback.

"Oh my," she said. "Basketball isn't for girls, it is for boys."

"Oh, Grandma," Jesse said. "Girls can play anything."

Well, Jesse's grandma didn't agree. She told Jesse that, in her opinion, girls should play with dolls.

Ladies don't play basketball, she said, and young girls should spend their time learning to cook and clean. Most of all, they should learn how to act like a lady.

"I don't want to be a lady," Jesse told her. "I want to be just like my mother. She comes outside and plays ball with us and Dad said he likes her that way.

"When I get married, I will marry a man just like my Daddy. And my Daddy didn't marry a lady."

"My goodness," Jesse's mother said. "I like to think I am a lady."

And Jesse's father agreed.

"Grandma," Jesse said, "Times are different now. Girls work at jobs just like men do and sometimes, they even do better than the boys.

"Tall girls like to play basketball. Last time I played, I got four free throws. The coach said I will make a very good basketball player.

"I will be Jesse, the basketball girl."

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