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Interview with Elizabeth McCall Callaway

Interviewee: 
Callaway, Elizabeth McCall
Interviewer: 
Grundy, Pamela
Date of Interview: 
1993-03-11
Identifier: 
MUCA0105
Subjects: 
girls basketball; basketball tournaments; high school sports; Hudson Hosiery; team sports; college sports; high school basketball; gender and sports; "boys rules" and basketball; early radio; soft drinks; McCall's Rebounder.
Abstract: 
A former basketball player, Elizabeth McCall Callaway talks about learning to play the sport and her memories of playing in Catawba County and Charlotte, North Carolina. She describes the courts she used to play on, the rivalries and tournaments in which she participated, the team uniforms, and how the rules of the game have changed for women. Callaway also mentions being one of the first families to own a radio and describes the experience. According to Callaway playing basketball taught her to keep up her grades, kept her out of trouble, and taught her good sportsmanship both on and off the court.
Coverage: 
Catawba County, NC and Charlotte, NC, 1926-1993
Interview Setting: 
Unknown location in Denver, NC
Collection: 
Levine Museum of the New South, Basketball Series
Collection Description: 
Interview was produced in conjunction with an exhibit on basketball at the Levine Museum of the New South.
Interview Audio: 
Transcript:
PG (Pamela Grundy): [Tape starts mid-sentence] here, and say this is Pamela Grundy, and I'm here interviewing Mrs. Elizabeth Callaway in Denver, North Carolina and it's the 11th of March, 1993. And we're going to talk about her basketball career. [Laughter] So I thought I'd just start off by asking you where, how you got started playing basketball? When did you first, when do you first remember playing?
EC (Elizabeth Callaway): Well, when I was in the seventh grade, of course, I was tall for my age, and we just had eleven grades then.
PG: Uh-huh.
EC: So they asked me in the seventh grade, now first through seventh was elementary school and eighth through the eleventh was high school.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: And this was a high school team, but they asked me that year to come out and practice with them.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: Because then I don't think girls were as tall as they are now. I was about five-nine.
PG: Oh, well that's- that's pretty tall. Did you get--?
EC: Of course I didn't make the varsity team in the seventh grade.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: And in the seventh and eighth grade our school did not even have a gymnasium.
PG: Oh really?
EC: We played on the outside clay court, and they drew the basketball court with chalk, just like they do on a baseball field now.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Did they have to draw it out new every day?
EC: Yes. Had to draw it before, out new every day right before the game. But I played out there like you say just that, I guess before I made the team in the seventh grade. Now, eighth grade we had, did have a gym.
PG: Uh-hm. Uh-hm. Well, they must have been pretty serious about basketball if they would ask you to play.
EC: That was the main sport back in, out in the country school. We didn't have football or soccer. Baseball and basketball was the main sport. And, we had several tall girls on our team. Other teams called us "the big cows."
PG: The big cows. [Laughter]
EC: [Laughter] We won several. We had county schools, I, I imagine there were about eight county schools in our district that we played. Catawba County.
PG: Uh-huh.
EC: And we rode school buses to the games at night.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: And, so. [Pause]
PG: Did you have a big rival? Is there one school in particular?
EC: Yes, we did. It was Balls Creek High School. And it's consolidated now and the high school is Bandys, and they still have a real good basketball program at Bandys.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Right.
EC: Of course where I went to school is just one through sixth grade, I think now, Sherrill's Ford.
PG: Sherrill's Ford is where the school was.
EC: Sherrill's Ford in Catawba County.
PG: Uh-hm. Well could you play basketball at home, did you have a place that you could practice?
EC: No. I don't know how but I was always, we were in good shape because I lived out in the country, and we ran and made up games and I think now about how they have to, when they start basketball, they have this program where they have to do, run and all. But I didn't seem to have any problem back when we [Laughter] would start, because I'd been running, and, but never had a basketball goal at home or anything.
PG: Uh-hum. Uh-hm. Did you know people who had basketball goals or is it--?
EC: No.
PG: That was just--.
EC: No, no one had a basketball goal then. And I'm just amazed at the cars at high schools now. I never saw a parent or a person have a car at school, but one family that picked up their--. You always had to do everything on the school bus. Families didn't pick up children or
PG: Really?
EC: children didn't have school, or cars.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. So it was all, sort of, organized around school.
EC: And we did a lot of our practicing just on the lunch hour.
PG: Uh-huh.
EC: Once in a while we stayed after school, if there was a big game coming up. Because you had no way and they had to see to get you to practice.
PG: Uh-hum. Uh-hum. Would the bus ever go to pick people up for the games? They go around and the--.
EC: Yes they would. They had to do that.
PG: Tell about that. Tell me about what, what would happen?
EC: The bus would go to, have to go to each house and then bring them back home, and take them
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: to the ball game. And you had a, you had a good time on the bus
PG: Yeah. Tell us--.
EC: because it was the boys and girls both.
PG: [Laughter] Uh-huh. Uh-huh. What would y'all do?
EC: And I remember one night they was singing a song, the boys and girls. It wasn't a very bad song, but something that the principal didn't like and I know he had us all in school. So--.
PG: Well, did he call you all together and give you a talk?
EC: Called us all in the office. It was, I guess I can say it on this, it was just a song, "The Old Cow, She Crossed the Road to Get on the Other Side." That's all.
PG: [Laughter]
EC: [Laughter] It wasn't really bad. Just singing one verse right after another.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: But basketball, in school, that was, that was your big entertainment then.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: And I think we played every Tuesday and Friday night, just like they do now in the high schools.
PG: Uh-hm. Uh-hm. Would they play the girls game first and then the boys? Is that how--?
EC: They always played the girls game first, and the boys. And we wore suits, not the bloomers way back then, just short, just like they are now. I remember that we had royal blue satin shorts, and then the, the jersey tops that had sleeves, sleeves in them.
PG: Uh-hum. Uh-hum.
EC: But we didn't have prac--a home uniform and an away uniform,
PG: Yeah. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: we just had the one uniform.
PG: Did the school buy those uniforms?
EC: Yes, the school ( ). Yeah the school had the uniforms. Uh-hm.
PG: And I guess they had the basketball.
EC: Basketball, everything pertaining to that. Well, and I'll say, we went on the school bus. Sometimes the school teachers would take their cars and they would pick you up, the principal or the, or the, your coach. And, and our basketball coach, like, I never remember our basketball coach fussing at any of us.
PG: Oh, uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: I don't know.
PG: Who was, who was your coach?
EC: Burley (Keyser). And he's dead now but he was my coach all through high school all four years in it. I don't guess he was considered a real good basketball coach. I don't think he even played basketball. But he would just let us get out there and play like we wanted to and--.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Did he, did he coach the boys too?
EC: No. We had a, had a boys' coach. And back then, I'm sure the boys roved all over the court, but you know we just played half court, three forwards on one end and the three guards on the other.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: You jumped us and you had, well, no, you had the two forwards and your center. And you jumped center and every time you scored you went back to the center.
PG: Uh-huh.
EC: Every time.
PG: Every time, so that took a while. [Laughter]
EC: It was a slow game. And you just dribble one time.
PG: Uh-huh. You could only dribble once.
EC: Once. And you learned how to pivot,
PG: Uh-huh.
EC: could move one foot but you get free by pivoting. And didn't have a three-second violation. And I always said this one other girl all he'd ever tell her to do was to run to the basket soon as the tip off and she stood there and the next thing high scores, this other girl, because she'd stand there under the basket for the--.
PG: Uh-huh. With her arms up--. [Laughter]
EC: [Laughter] Arms up waiting for you to throw the ball.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. That's, that's funny. So what position did you play?
EC: I always played forward. I didn't play center. [Indicates negative sound] I played, played forward.
PG: Did you all ever wish that the rules were different, that you could dribble more or play more like the boys?
EC: No. Never. No. I never did think about it then. I don't know why, but I think we could have, I guess back then they didn't think girls could, could have the stamina to run all up and down the court.
PG: Uh-huh.
EC: Well I can remember even when my daughter played, she didn't go all over the court. Then a few years later they had one roving.
PG: Uh-hum. Right. Right. Right. One person could go back and forth.
EC: Or one rover that could go all over, back and forth, so that hadn't been-well not that--.
PG: I, I believe it wasn't until 1971 that
EC: Was that right? Play--.
PG: they started to play with the boys' rules, you know, with the same rules.
EC: But do you know, way back in nineteen, it was about 1938, see I went, I went to business school in Charlotte and I played down there four years. One year we entered the tournament in High Point and then in one girls' game we had to play all over the court and we never had practice.
PG: Oh really, you did?
EC: And I found out later, I didn't know, you know, what a big thing--if we'd have won that, we won the first game, if we'd have won that game we'd have gone on to Kansas, you know.
PG: Oh, uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: Uh-huh.
PG: What year would that have been then?
EC: About 1938.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. And this was, Kings Business College, was that right?
EC: No, it was Geyers Business College. It was a, that was the man's name. Kings Business College was in Charlotte then but they didn't have basketball and I picked Geyers Business College just through a brochure that I got in the mail because they had a basketball team.
PG: Oh. Uh-huh, so you really wanted to play?
EC: Play.
PG: Uh-huh, how did, how do you spell Geyers?
EC: G-E-Y-E-R-S, it was on, business college. It was on South Tryon Street, right across, it was in a building right across from the Observer building. I don't know what's in that building, building now. But they didn't have much of a place to practice. Seem like upstairs there was a court, but the ceiling wasn't high enough. And, we went to a men's Y a lot
PG: Oh, uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: and practiced.
PG: I guess they really had just about the only gymnasium, them and Central High School I think.
EC: Probably, probably so, because we went to the and it was on South Tryon Street, about, what the second or third block on South Tryon, on the right was it. Yeah.
PG: So, so who would you play when you played for the college?
EC: We played some junior colleges. We played I remember we played Wingate, we played Mars Hill. And then they had an industrial league in Charlotte. Hudson Hosiery. And then we played some high schools, too. And I don't, I guess we could have played for that college, I bet, as long as we wanted to, because I just had a nine months course, and I played basketball for them four years. I played after I started to work.
PG: Oh, uh huh. You just kept coming back and playing.
EC: Several of the players, a lot of the players were like that. We played together for several years.
PG: Did you get a lot, did a lot of people come to those games?
EC: No.
PG: No.
EC: I, you know, that's why after I went to Charlotte, you know we'd have a big crowd out in the country, because that was the only thing to go to. And that was one thing I missed when you went to Charlotte. Nobody came to see the basketball games. Being back, back then. Now if you'd go to, sometimes when you'd go to those junior colleges you have more, but like that industrial league in Charlotte, you wouldn't have anybody came to the games.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Even if you'd go play, play one of the mills, the mill people wouldn't come too much and--?
EC: No.
PG: Well, what did you like about basketball? Why did you like it so much?
EC: [Pause] Well, when I was growing up that was just about the only, in high school, about the only thing you had to do except go to school. And I always did like different sports. Well, my daddy before me loved sports. And he played baseball, you know, community baseball team, and that's what, he always encouraged us. And I had one sister younger than me and three brothers. And all three of my brothers played basketball in college.
PG: Uh-huh. Oh, uh-huh.
EC: In fact, my oldest brother started the basketball camp at Campbell College, the first basketball
PG: Oh, really.
EC: camp in North Carolina.
PG: Huh?
EC: So I guess we just grew up knowing. And I really liked it. And I guess I had an advantage being tall.
PG: Uh-huh. Yeah. That does seem--that does help a lot doesn't it. That does help. Well, how did you learn how to play, how did you learn the game? How did--?
EC: [Clears throat] Watching it, I guess, in school. Because I was older than my brothers, I didn't see them play, but just watching other girls play in school. And sometimes now I do wonder how, when he came and got me out of the seventh grade, how I did know how to dribble. But I was so active at home, doing things. Running, I was always racing with the boys. And I had a cousin older than me, and he would always get me to race with my, the boy cousins, because I could outrun them. And then he'd tease them, because I could outrun them.
PG: Uh-huh. [Laughter]
EC: And so I didn't have any problem. I just wondered how we would compare with these, I watched girls basketball this week. And all that dribbling, whether I'd ever been able to do all that dribbling and, that they can do now and play, because ours was so slow.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Was there about the same amount of interest in the girls' games as the boys' games or was there a difference there?
EC: It seems like they was, back then, they were closer together, the interest, because I guess if they went to the game they always stayed for both games back then. And, to me in high school it seemed like there was just as much interest in the girls as there was boys. Of course, when I went on and played in Charlotte there didn't seem like there was much interest in either one. They got, they had, you know, the boys had a basketball team--.
PG: At the college too? Uh-huh.
EC: So nobody went out to see either one of those.
PG: Would you play, would it be the same, would you play, would you both to like a junior college and play both games.
EC: We'd both go together.
PG: Uh-huh, but there just wasn't the kind of interest.
EC: Uh-huh.
PG: Well, what was it like to be playing, I guess when you were playing that you knew everybody in the audience pretty much, wouldn't you, from--? In the area, in high school?
EC: In high school, oh yes. Just like probably now, I go to the high school, you don't know them but I, I still feel close to all those families that lived and went to school where I did in high school. See, there's just about five hundred people in, from one through eleven grades. Yeah, you knew every, everybody that was at the game then.
PG: What was it like to be out there in front of all these people that you knew and play and having them watch you?
EC: You know, that's one thing, when you're out there playing you don't think about the, who's watching. Just like I go to games now and you wonder about that but you don't. See, I still go to all the high school basketball games here. I have some grandsons playing.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. And you say your daughter played.
EC: Uh-hum. My daughter played, my son, they didn't, they didn't go on and play in college. Now I had my youngest son played at Western Carolina.
PG: Oh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: He was really the only one tall, like me. My husband wasn't that tall but my youngest son played at Western Carolina.
PG: Did you teach your kids how to play?
EC: No, never did. Course, when my youngest son came along, there was basketball camps. And he went to, he went down to Campbell College. I guess he went down there three or four years to basketball camp. No, I never did but I was always interested in sports. And they all played but, baseball and a, the boys played baseball and basketball.
PG: Did you ever baseball at all, did you ever?
EC: They had, they did have softball but I never did like softball. I never did play.
PG: Was that as popular as basketball with other girls? Or was it--?
EC: No, softball wasn't. Now baseball was popular back then, maybe more so than basketball, it was, but, no, softball wasn't very popular with the girls then.
PG: Well, are there any particular games you remember real well, that you played in?
EC: Back then, besides basketball?
PG: No, I mean particular basketball games that you remember that sort of stand out in your mind?
EC: Yeah. In a tournament one year, we were playing this game, Catawba, and they had a real good girl, and they were really beating us. And at half time she had an attack of appendicitis.
PG: Oh no.
EC: And I can't remember whether we beat them after that, but you know it's terrible, but all our team was glad she had that attack. Because she was the one that was really beating us at half time. And in high school we used to always have a tournament. There was, Barium Springs was a Presbyterian orphanage. And they always held a big tournament over there. And we always entered that and I think one year we won that Barium Springs tournament. It's over near Statesville. I'm trying to think of some other game, tournament. We always, like they do now, the county, we had a tournament at the end of the year and we'd play at one of the high schools.
PG: Was it real, were you real competitive? Did you want to win real bad?
EC: Oh yes. Especially all those high school teams. And like I say, Balls Creek was one of our biggest competition and today it's the high school here and, well, it's named Bandys now, are real competitive.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Was it because they were closest to you, is that--?
EC: I think. Yes. But now they have moved it out of our conference. We still play them but it's not one of our conference games. I believe they're a 2-A school and we're 3-A.
PG: Did you know the players on the other teams?
EC: All of them.
PG: How'd you, where'd you know them from?
EC: Playing them each year I guess we learned them and, you know, some of them you'd played several years. Yeah, you knew most all the players, you knew who were the good ones. And I still remember that girl's name that, from Catawba, Faye Brown. She wasn't a tall girl but fast and she was running all over us. She did that. Came back at halftime and had her took to the hospital.
PG: Did you ever socialize with any of the other girls, did you ever see them outside--?
EC: No, not except for when we played, played basketball.
PG: Did you ever listen to basketball games on the radio?
EC: No, never heard a basketball on the radio but we did have one of the, our family had one of the first radios in our community. And I was, I can remember, I was in the second grade in school, so that would be, say about nineteen, about 1926. Nobody didn't have radios.
PG: Right, yeah that's real early, they, you know, nobody had them before the 1920s.
EC: I remem-well no there wasn't--first radio, it was just, all the works in the back were open. And you, a lot of time you had to wear earphones to hear it.
PG: Right, uh-huh. You had to take turns passing the earphones around.
EC: Uh-hum. And, but, who was it fighting, was it Jack Tunney and, one night and everybody came to our house to listen to it on the radio.
PG: Yeah, I guess the fights were big back then people were real interested in those.
EC: That's what we had. Yeah the fights were. That's right.
PG: So did you ever, when you were growing up, did you ever see any college basketball games or anything or just the high school games?
EC: I was trying to think the first, there was, no, never saw any college basketball games. And I remember the first football game I ever seen and that's when my [clears throat] oldest brother, who's four years younger than me, played at Lenoir-Rhyne. And I went up there and I didn't know anything, I didn't know what was going on, I didn't know anything about football. And in fact, my brother went there and played and he didn't play in high school.
PG: Oh really? Uh-huh.
EC: But he went to Lenoir-Rhyne to play basketball but he was a big fellow so he started playing football and he was pretty good at-by the time his four year. But he didn't play in high school.
PG: Did you all ever play with the boys in basketball? Did you ever practice with them any in high school?
EC: [Negative response] Never.
PG: No that was a separate--.
EC: No, never practiced with the [pause] boys.
PG: Was there anything that you were particularly good at like shooting, or passing or something that you--?
EC: I guess, after I went on to Charlotte I was a high scorer but like I say, in high school, this other girl usually was high scorer, but I was a high scorer in Charlotte. But I think I got, one year I was high scorer and I think I scored 324 points. That's nothing like they do now. [Laughter]
PG: That's still quite a few--.
EC: But the--.
PG: --points to score.
EC: I came back to, and played Rock Springs High School. My sister was, no she was already through, but we came back up there and I think that was a high scoring night. I scored twenty-nine points. That was the highest. Most of mine I scored around twenty points.
PG: Well you must have been when you scored twenty-nine.
EC: [Laughter] I was, but especially, my, back home.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. You felt like you looked good in front of the home folks, huh? [Laughter]
EC: [Laughter] But, I was talking the other day, I didn't realize it then I shot with one hand and if they'd known, I always dribbled to the right. I don't ever remember dribbling to the left.
PG: Uh-huh.
EC: And, because, I said, well you wouldn't get very far now, just dribbling one way and shooting--.
PG: Shooting one way.
EC: --shooting one way.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. So, you didn't have a two-handed shot, you did the one-handed?
EC: I tried to tell my grandson, and he says, "You couldn't shoot, you'd get blocked every time." I kind of held it in that hand, and shot with that hand. Never had anybody to tell me how to shoot.
PG: Oh really? Uh-huh.
EC: No, it was just natural I guess. But I saw, I see some people shooting their foul shots like that now. No. We never heard the word jump shot.
PG: Right, right, yeah that was something that came along a little bit later. So when you shot your foul shots, did you shoot them underhand?
EC: No. [Sound indicating negative response]
PG: You shot them overhand?
EC: Uh-huh. Yes. [Pause] I don't remember whether anybody shot underhand like that. No.
PG: Now, did you play other teams? When you were saying you didn't wear the bloomers in the high school, you had the, had the shorts. Did you play other teams that had bloomers on?
EC: No, but I've heard of some of the women that played before me, they wore the big black bloomers. But I never did wear any, they were already out in '32. That was earlier, because all the other teams wore, look just about as short as they do, they wear now.
PG: And they were that shiny satin stuff.
EC: Satin. A heavy satin.
PG: Uh-huh. Did you like that, did you like your uniforms?
EC: Well that's, yeah I thought they were pretty because that's all I knew then.
PG: So did that bring--was it prestigious at school to be a basketball player? Did people look up to you at all, or--?
EC: Well it seem, seemed like, yeah, everybody knew you if you played basketball. I still can go back to, we still go, I still go back to our alumni banquet at our high school. And that's mentioned several times, and the players, and some of them say, "Yeah, I remember you when you played basketball." You know. So. Yes that was a, everybody knew you if you played basketball. [Laughter]
PG: That was way to sort of stand out.
EC: Uh-hum.
PG: I guess just about everybody would come to the games, or would they?
EC: You had, [clears throat] well everybody that had ways, you know, back then. And you'd always have a good crowd, you know, for the size, the community around here wasn't very populated like it is now but we had about as good a crowd coming to the high school basketball as they do over at the high school now.
PG: Oh really? Uh-huh. Uh-huh. That's pretty good because it's a much bigger school now I guess.
EC: Oh, oh now. You know, with the lake here we have, they have about a thousand students from the, just the ninth through twelve grade at the high school now. We had 500 in the first through the eleventh.
PG: Well, did anybody ever tell you they didn't think it was ladylike for you to play basketball?
EC: Never.
PG: Never heard that?
EC: [Sounds indicating negative response] I guess girls had been playing basketball long enough that, never said anything about the uniform you wore or anything. So it's always been, as long as I can remember, a girls' sport. Of course, we didn't have a track team, didn't have a tennis team, soccer. Baseball and basketball.
PG: Did you have anybody who would, I know some, some girls would get, when they would get a rebound they'd throw it all the way across the court to the other end. Did you have anybody who'd do that?
EC: No. It seems like then, you know, all your forwards were on one end and, you had one that would play back and then you'd have couple, have to play up toward the line because you had to get it across the, the line. Your guards had to get it, and they had to stop at the line. But I can't ever remember anybody throwing it from one end to the other but sometimes if you could get to the line you could throw it if you had one back then. But I never did throw it.
PG: Well, do you have a, I've been asking a lot of people if they've got memorable moments, it's the one time where they did something that they really remember about, about basketball. Have you got, you got a memorable moment of when--?
EC: No, I can't, I can't think of any, where I ever hit a long shot. I guess, I guess my best game was when I came back to my home and scored those, that twenty-nine points. And, seemed like most all my shots were, were close up. I don't have any big moment. I can't even remember what kind of shot I had under the basket. I was talking to my brother yesterday and he mentioned one of those girls that played for Virginia. He called her name. Did you watch that game?
PG: I didn't get to see it. It was exciting--.
EC: And he said, he said, "That's exactly the way you shot." Said, "She shot with one hand, and turned around at the basket," and said, "It looked just like you." But I can't, I can't remember, don't seem like I can remember any way I shot or how I even scored my points. Like I say, in high school this other girl was always, I was out, seemed like getting the ball to her.
PG: Was that a little annoying to you that you--?
EC: Yes it was [laughter] especially when it would come out telling how many points this one scored. And then when she didn't move around much, she just [pause]--.
PG: Stood there.
EC: And I, and I'd say she say huh, huh, huh, huh. [Laughter]
PG: [Laughter] Oh that's funny. So you say you didn't have too much strategy. In college did you have more strategy? Did you have a coach who coached you more?
EC: Well, it was just a student that got a scholarship and yeah, I, yeah, he had played basketball the one that I had in business college. And yeah, he had more strategy but I don't know whether our team ever played that. Because the first time I'd ever heard anybody say "use your hips to get them off of you," you know, under the basket. [Laughter] I can remember him saying that, and I never had heard that before. And I think he tried to tell you more how to shoot. But I don't remember else, seemed like I just always I played like I always did. I don't think I ever did use my hips to get--. [Laughter]
PG: [Laughter] No that's, that's--. Was there anybody who played that you particularly admired, that you tried to copy or that you, that you just thought was real good?
EC: No, because I don't remember like say seeing any college basketball, never did hear it on the, didn't have a radio and all. And, back then, now like now I really would because I watch basketball about every night, but back then I never saw any college games and, or heard any on the radio or knew of any of them. Who would be some players that played in the nineteen, you wouldn't--?
PG: I wouldn't know, certainly not of the women, you know, there just weren't--.
EC: [Sound indicating negative response] So--?
PG: --you know, even in the colleges they just didn't play that much especially in the, you know, more, less business colleges, you know the more, like Queens College and stuff, I don't even think they had--.
EC: No. [Sound indicating negative response]
PG: --teams back then. I think they were more interested in the ladylike--.
EC: Well, seemed like in the city schools, didn't have girls basketball. Seemed like out in the country girls basketball was more popular than it, I don't think maybe some of those high schools in Charlotte, and I don't remember playing a high school team in Charlotte.
PG: Uh-huh. I think they stopped having it. They had them in the twenties.
EC: Twenties and then it--.
PG: And at some point they stopped having it again. They decided it wasn't a good thing for some reason. And then they, they stopped having it, they stopped it.
EC: But I know we had girl's basketball when they didn't have it at, and I, I'm just now thinking about it, we never played a high school in Charlotte. Like I say, they had industrial leagues but not any high schools. See we came up here and played some high schools. I don't how they went about arranging their schedule, I guess.
PG: Well, it must have been strange when you had to play that game all of a sudden go up and down the whole court.
EC: We didn't know what we were doing, we got beat that night. And I guess, our coach even knew that we, got down there that it was going to be, be that way. No.
PG: I've read about how they used to do that sometimes too, in the high schools, each county would have a different set of rules for, for girls playing. And sometimes the high schools, you'd have to play different rules depending on which school you were at. You'd have to keep all these different rules in your head.
EC: But when I was in high school we, I, we didn't hardly ever play any schools outside the county except when we went to that Barium Springs tournament. And I guess, as well as I remember, we played under the same rules that we played at our school in that tournament. And I remember, you had a free throwing, free throwing contest over there. My sister shot the foul shots one, one time at that tournament. I never did.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Did you ever get a basketball hoop at home like, after--?
EC: Never.
PG: Never did?
EC: [Sound indicating negative response] Never. I don't remember, I think my brothers did when they along but I was the oldest and never did have a basketball--.
PG: Would your father come to the games and watch you play?
EC: Yes. Uh-huh. And he came more than my mom did. She, my mother never did know that much about basketball but my daddy did.
PG: Would he tell you what you needed to do?
EC: No. Now he never did play basketball. He played baseball so he really didn't. But, I don't know, I think he just, they say he kind of petted me so in later years, he lived here with me, he'd always say, tell me I was better basketball player than any of the boys. But they all, you know, played in college but he'd say "Well you could beat them playing basketball." [Laughter]
PG: Uh-hum. Uh-hum. Were some of the players rough? Were they, was it, was it a rough game sometimes?
EC: Not as rough, like it is now, no. Because you didn't move around and charge as much I don't guess as, like you're going up and down the court and you had to stop and, and dribble. No it wasn't rough like it is now. I don't remember. I guess the boys was rougher than the girls. Now it, it just seems like it was really slow paced to what the girls play now.
PG: Uh-hum. Did you enjoy going to watch your children go and play?
EC: Oh yes. See I never quit going between my children and my grandchildren. I'm one of the older ones that go to basketball games, now they like. Just this year I went during the Christmas holidays, they had a Christmas tournament. And I went at one o'clock, and stayed till ten o'clock.
PG: Oh my goodness.
EC: Sit, sit all through all those games. And the younger people were coming by "how did you sit so long on these hard benches?" But I still enjoy basketball.
PG: Does watching it make you think of when you played yourself?
EC: Yeah, I wonder if I'd be able to do like the girls now, when they're out there. I wonder if I could dribble all the way down the court. Yeah I, I do wonder about what kind of game I'd have if I played now. What with running so much. Well, I'm sure I could last, but I don't know whether I could be able to dribble, because, like I say, I stayed in shape during the summer at home.
PG: Working on the farm.
EC: Working on the farm and running and jumping. And jumping rope. That was, you know, they say that's good, and that was one of the main things that you did, to see how long you could jump rope. So I guess that's one of the things.
PG: How long would you jump rope?
EC: I can't remember but I would jump a long time. And I can remember just getting out in the yard and seeing how many times I could just jump straight up and down. Just jump, jump, jump. We'd have, we'd compete, you know to see who could jump the longest. How many times you could run around the house and--.
PG: All sorts of stuff like that. [Pause] Well, I guess that's kind of the sorts of things that I was interested in.
EC: Is that right?
PG: In finding out about. You have anything else that you remember about playing that, that might be of interest?
EC: This might be funny and I know there's others but I was on one of the trips, the first Pepsi I ever drank.
PG: Oh really, tell me about that.
EC: And I thought that was the strongest thing. Came out my nose, I thought it was going to strangle me to death. [Laughter] I tell my children that now because they drink so many. I say, "I believe they were stronger back then." I was, well in the seventh grade, and we were on a trip, and they stopped, and I don't know whether it was a Coke or a Pepsi. That thing came out my nose. And now babies drink them.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh that's funny. So do remember where you were going to?
EC: It was one of the county games, in the high school. That was stopped. [Laughter]
PG: [Laughter] So is this Catawba County?
EC: No this is, we're in Lincoln County. Catawba County joins this. I, I was raised about three miles from here.
PG: Oh. Uh-huh. So you went to school in Catawba County?
EC: Back, do you, when I, you had to go to school in the county you lived in and the year after I graduated they changed that and my sister and brothers they changed and came up here because it was a little bit closer than where we went. We rode about five or six miles to school but then now they've changed it back to county again.
PG: So back and forth, huh. Different. So do you remember the Lincolnton girls won the state championship back in the 50s a couple of years. Do remember that?
EC: The Lincolnton or the--?
PG: Lincolnton.
EC: Oh Lincolnton. See we're in Lincoln County. Lincolnton is a--.
PG: Oh it's not in Lincoln County?
EC: Yeah it's in Lincoln about, and our boys, the boys, the boys in Lincolnton are playing, did they play last night, I, they're in, went to the state. In the last several years, East Lincoln hasn't had a winning basketball team but up until that we had, we had some winning teams. My son-in-law was a basketball coach over there when my son graduated. And, so we've always been a basketball family.
PG: Uh-huh. Well, I guess there's always been lots of interest here. Did you all start, when did you start following like Carolina and Duke and things like that, when did you start paying attention to that?
EC: I don't know, I've got a grandson, oh well, yeah, well I don't, when did I start? [Pause] Maybe, I've got a, my sister's son graduated from Carolina. Let's see, he's, how old is he now? He is, he's, he's fifty-one. He played football. In fact he was a co-captain over there when--. Wendell Gene Sigmon. And they went to the, would it be the Peach Bowl that year?
PG: I don't know about that. I don't know what they were--.
EC: And all my family went down there. That was the year he was the co-captain. And maybe, see, what years would that be that he played for Carolina. And oh my, he's really a Carolina fan. And I've had nieces and [Pause] went to Carolina, so it's just been in since probably the 1ate 1960s.
PG: So you weren't really interested in that until they started. But, do you watch a lot of the game now?
EC: Oh yes. I look in the newspaper every day and see what basketball games are going to be on and that's what I usually watch at night.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. What are you going to do when the season's over?
EC: I don't get as interested in baseball but I, at the playoffs I watched Atlanta last year but I don't get as interested in baseball quite as I do basketball. But I do watch it. I like any competitive sport. I'll even watch tennis. I don't know that much about it but I like any competitive sport.
PG: Well, do you think you learned a lot from playing basketball? Do you think that was a--?
EC: I, I think it helps you. It [Pause] well it really teaches you sportsmanship and I think it keeps you active and I had someone say to me one time about sports, said, in our family, they never knew anybody that had accomplished anything playing sports. But I think anybody that's real active in sports it keeps them from doing a lot of other things. And I really think it helps them with their school grades too. Yeah, I advise anybody to play sports if they could.
PG: Did they help you, did that help you with your grades?
EC: I think so.
PG: Uh-huh. How, how did it help?
EC: Well one way it helped, that girl that did all those scoring the points was the smartest girl in our room and I tried to make as good of grades as her. [Laughter] She was the valedictorian of our class so I was always up there trying to compete with her in sports and, and then books.
PG: Uh-huh. Was your coach big on sportsmanship? Did he talk about that a lot?
EC: Yes, yes. That's right. Sportsmanship. Uh-hum.
PG: Was that something that you had to learn in school, how to do that or did you learn it at home?
EC: Be a good sport?
PG: Uh-hum.
EC: [Pause]
PG: Or the other people had to learn, was that sort of something that--?
EC: Well I think, I think you learn a lot at home too and it carries on into your school. Yes I always had good parents and they supported the school and they didn't always, when things went they didn't, they wouldn't, I never, I don't ever remember my parents ever being to the school criticizing a teacher or principal like they do now. [Pause] Well if you--.
PG: I've been living, I've been living actually in Alabama before that. And then I came, I came to, here to go to Chapel Hill to go to school. And I've been there five years now, this is my fifth year, so I've been there a while. Yeah, I've been there five. But I played basketball a little bit but I just didn't, I was more--.
EC: You had other things.
PG: --interested in tennis and I was better at that so I got to play that more. [Laughter] I didn't play too much.
EC: Yeah I think you'll like the sport that you're better at.
PG: Yeah, yeah. I think so. But I've really enjoyed playing, going around talking to people about basketball is real fun. It seems to, you know, be special to a lot of people, the memories of playing and doing stuff like that, so. [Phone rings] Go ahead and--.
EC: Excuse me, I'll get it then I--.
PG: I'll pause that. [RECORDING INTERRUPTED, THEN RESUMES]
EC: Uh-huh. The Eggott girl she's, she was a couple years ahead of me. Well I barely just made in '36. [Laughter] '36. Well, gosh.
PG: [Laughter] Well. It's kind of funny to see what this fellow. He did, this fellow did a lot of work. He, he's, I'm actually going to go talk to him on Monday. He, he went and gathered, Mr. Edwards, he went and gathered all this material.
EC: Newton girls. Well I got a, let's see, I got a picture of our ball team. It was when I was in the ninth grade and I hurt my knee in the ninth grade and I don't have on my uniform in that. But, I think I got it here. But--. [Long pause]
PG: I found, here's that tournament game in '35. Says Catawba versus Sherrill's Ford, 39 to 32.
EC: Catawba, and they won it? Yeah, that, that's that game that that Faye Brown, Catawba. Did you see that low score?
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Yeah, that's not too much.
EC: What--?
PG: It's right here.
EC: And what year was that?
PG: '35.
EC: Yeah, that would be the year. Um-hum. [Laughter] That was 1934.
PG: Uh-huh. Oh wow, look at that. And that's you.
EC: Yeah.
PG: Look at that.
EC: That's at Sherrill and let's see the Eggott, I saw the Eggotts. Where are the Eggotts? Here's a Eggott girl, ( ).
PG: Now you got champions on your ball I see.
EC: I guess that was it, well that's 1934.
PG: Maybe you won in your, in your district.
EC: District. Well that's--.
PG: This is the Barium Springs tournament.
EC: Oh was it the Barium Springs. Oh.
PG: That's what that was. This is the--.
EC: I thought that was the county tournament.
PG: No, I think that's the, that was the Barium Springs tournament.
EC: Oh, that, yeah, we entered that, we'd entered it every year I think. That was a Presbyterian orphanage.
PG: Uh-huh, wow. Did they, did they have a team, the orphanage?
EC: No they didn't, they just, it probably was a moneymaking thing for them, they just, they probably had one of the bigger gyms.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. So then they'd do that. Well, this is interesting to see, see--.
EC: Something like that.
PG: Well let me ask you, would it be possible at some point for us to make a copy of that picture, use in the exhibit? Would that be all right?
EC: Oh yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah. You want to take something, I can get it out of here.
PG: I would, I don't want to take it now because we're not set up to do that but I would like to, at some point if I could, borrow it and make copies.
EC: I did, I did maybe, I did have a picture when I played in business school, a picture that came out in the Observer. I'll have to find that.
PG: Yeah that'd be, that'd be nice too, to have--.
EC: I've got--.
PG: --to make copies of.
EC: I've got several of the write-ups, I had a little old scrapbook but--.
PG: Oh yeah.
EC: --the paper is getting so rotten it's just falling apart but, I think I was in Charlotte several--. [RECORDING INTERRUPTED, THEN RESUMED].
PG: Would you always go and look for your name in the paper when you--.
EC: [Laughter] I must did, I don't remember it. I was living with a cousin of mine. [Pause] McCall, no that's somebody else, she isn't McCall. This is ( ) game. Let's see what I did here.
PG: You beat them pretty bad there.
EC: I scored fourteen points there. I scored more in, down there than I did in high school, I know. I don't know. I don't know whether that picture's in here but--.
PG: Where would look in, in high school, where would the games get written up, where would you look?
EC: I hadn't got any of the high school games but probably the county seat, the paper was Newton and I hadn't got--. I don't, yeah I know I'd see them because I'd always--must have been in the--we didn't have a school paper, so it must have been in the Newton.
PG: Did y'all have an annual that year when you were at school?
EC: No.
PG: You didn't have an annual.
EC: Didn't have an annual. I wish we had a, no, never did have an annual in, while I was in school.
PG: [Pause] Well this has just been great. I've really enjoyed doing this, this seems really interesting.
EC: Gosh, I didn't think I had much to tell you when Jean, Jean, I mean Kevin told me and then you called. I, I thought he was just, I was just one of his fans. I called somebody, then you called. Uh-huh.
PG: Oh, you've got paper all over you.
EC: Yeah, that's that old paper tearing up.
PG: Yeah, yeah.
EC: Gosh, I wouldn't mind having one of these but--.
PG: Well, there's an address in there, Mr. Edwards's address, you could write to him.
EC: Now, where is he, is he--?
PG: He's in Claremont.
EC: Oh.
PG: Just up the road a little bit.
EC: Uh-huh. High school, Balls Creek. He's got Bandys but that wasn't, Bandys is, yeah we played Balls Creek, Banoak, Blackburn, Bunker, no it wasn't Bunker Hill, it was Claremont, Claremont. That's--.
PG: I believe these are all the ones that have ever been, both the ones that got consolidated
EC: Consolidated.
PG: and what they got consolidated into.
EC: Yeah it is because Bunker Hill it was just Claremont. Fred T. Foard back then was just Startown. That was the same school. Tournament, Barium Springs and Catawba County, those are the two that we played in. Uh-hm.
PG: It's a real interesting book. You found out just about everything you could imagine about, there's lot of little stories in there about the different tournaments and what went on and different things and stuff like that. [Pause] There's actually another one, he put, there's one from 1992 but I think he added some too. You know, he corrected some things and added so he, he put out another one.
EC: Yeah, I had some nieces and nephews that played for Bandys later that did real good. I had a niece, she scored fifty points in--.
PG: My goodness.
EC: That would be in, about the 1960s.
PG: Were you there when she did it?
EC: No, but I, those tournaments were played at Lenoir-Rhyne College. And I went to a lot of them but I wasn't there that night. But, well then she went on to college but she didn't play basketball at college. She went down to Campbell College where my brother is.
PG: Now, did he invent a rebounding machine?
EC: Yes, he did.
PG: Does he have a, one of them around?
EC: Well, there used be one over here at East Lincoln High School but they don't, they don't have it any more. And some fellow in Raleigh bought the rights to the patent and he called it the McCall Rebounder. And, but I think he's in bankruptcy now, just maybe in this last year. But he sold those to the high schools.
PG: Uh-huh. Would he have one at his house
EC: No.
PG: that he kept? He didn't keep one?
EC: No. I don't know, there should be some in some of the colleges and all. See my brother, he retired from Campbell College about four years ago and he lives, still lives there next to the college.
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. I was actually interested in talking to him. Kevin told me about him too. I was interested in talking to him about that, seeing if we could get--that would be something that we could exhibit, you know, we could put that someone from around here had done something like that.
EC: Uh-hm. And like I say his business thing, he started before Carolina or any of those had a basketball camp and that's the oldest basketball camp and the biggest yet. And Wooden is a good friend of his and he came and he helped in that basketball camp.
PG: Oh really? Uh-huh.
EC: I don't know how many years. And he came over and helped when Driesell was at Davidson and he came and helped Driesell set up his basketball that year.
PG: Oh really? Uh-huh.
EC: And went on to Maryland and helped him set up his basketball camp.
PG: My goodness. So that's a lot of, that's a lot of stuff. Well it seems like I might, he might be somebody I would be interested in interviewing as well.
EC: Oh. Yeah. He probably could--.
PG: When did he invent the machine, when did he--?
EC: You know I can't, I can't, I can't remember the year.
PG: Was it many years ago?
EC: Well, it's been since he's been at Campbell College. Of course he, he's been down there for thirty years. I don't how many after he was down there that he invented that, that, had you ever heard of the rebounder?
PG: Kevin told me about it.
EC: Oh.
PG: That's how I knew. I saw Kevin and said "Kevin, I know I need to talk to some of your relatives for this project." [Laughter]
EC: Yeah.
PG: And I told him about it and he said oh yes, you should talk to this person and this person.
EC: Yeah, he probably, he probably could tell you a lot more stuff about, see he went to Campbell College and coached basketball fifteen years and then he [Pause] you know, Campbell College was that little team that played Duke in the first game in the tournament last year.
PG: Oh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
EC: [Laughter] And that was just something else. But they had one little fellow that was good on three points and he shot a good many of those.
PG: Do you got a phone number for--?
EC: Him?
PG: Yeah.
EC: Uh-huh, sure have.
PG: That would just be great, I could give him a call. Would you like this Mr. Edwards' address, you could write him and ask--.
EC: Yeah, I, I'm going to get a pencil and paper and write that down.
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