There’s an uplifting group of women in Casa Grande stealing hearts and rebounds.Introducing, the Desert Geckos – one of the newest teams in the growing game of the Granny Basketball League.“I feel pretty good, actually,” said Jan Bourdon after her scrimmage game Wednesday morning.At 80 years old, Bourdon is the second oldest on the team in Casa Grande. The oldest is 82 years old, while the youngest is 50.Bourdon says the traditional style of the game she played with her brothers back in the 60s got easier with practice, but not necessarily with age.“Upper body strength leaves, lower body strength leaves. When you turn 80, a lot goes,” said Bourdon with a smile that could light up the gym.Granny Basketball derives from the 1920s style of basketball.Even down to the game day dress code that includes bloomers, middy blouses and knee-high stockings. On the day of practice, modern fitness attire was the norm.”No skin can show in your arms or legs,” said Maureen Monroe, head coach.Monroe said she played Granny Ball in Iowa. She started a team in Casa Grande to get back to the comradery that comes with the game.Everyone on the team is at least over 50 years old. Each player is allowed only two dribbles per possession, then they have to pass the ball.Free throws are one point, field goals are two points, and underhand or a ‘granny shot’ is three points.For safety purposes, there’s absolutely no running, no jumping, and no physical contact.When a granny goes down, the game stops until they’re helped off the court.” I’ve had two hip replacements and a knee replacement so I can play pretty well now, but before I was always icing my knees,” said Monroe.The Desert Geckos are one of over 40 teams across 10 states. They officially joined the Granny Basketball League over the weekend which allows them to compete in a tournament in the fall.Trading in knitting needles for sneakers, these ladies know you’re never too old – to lace ‘em up with friends.”It’s so rewarding to see women come out of their home at that age and become active again and social Those two elements have been phenomenal for the renewal of life,” said Bourdon.The Desert Geckos practice at the Casa Grande Rec Center on Wednesdays at 11 a.m.They want to win, but more importantly, they like to have fun.
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