By Jayson Knight
The Oklahoma Twisters, a granny basketball team, showed up the Union City Police Department Saturday at Union City Schools, thanks largely to some handicaps against the officers, as well as some basketball proficiency on the parts of the grandmothers.
One of those grannies is RaeNelle Spies, who spoke Monday about how the event came to fruition.
“One of our team members lives in Union City,” Spies said, “and she was approached by the Union City Police, or it was just advertised that they would like donations for their Shop with a Cop program. So, through her connection with the police department there, we decided to have a charity game for them to help raise money. Her name’s Laverne Cullen and she kind of helped to get it started for us.” The Twisters have played against the Union City officers before, and are quite fond of the law enforcement officers.
“The Union City Police Department has been special to us for a long time,” Spies said. “They’re super guys. They’re fun to play with and they’re dedicated to what they do. That’s been our favorite charity thing that we do each year is to play with them, so we think quite highly of that department.”
Besides the charities granny basketball benefit, there is something in it for them too. They hold a bake sale and silent auction in conjunction with the events they participate in to raise money for their expenses.
Also, it allows the older ladies to maintain their functional strength.
“We’ve been together now since 2017,” Spies said, “and began playing in 2018. It’s totally helped with balance, it’s helped with mobility, but the biggest advantage is that we are just best friends now. Most of the current team members have all been there for an extended length of time. We take vacations together, we go to concerts together, we go out to eat together. We’ve just become like sisters. Not only has it benefited us physically, it’s given us a social outlet that we didn’t have before, before we became part of the team.”
The Twisters are not the only granny basketball team either. Those interested in joining the team, or just finding out more about them, can go online to grannybasketball.com for more information.
“We’re called the Oklahoma Twisters,” Spies said. “We are the original Oklahoma Granny basketball team. We formed in 2017, and then began playing league games in 2018, so this will be our sixth season to be playing games. Those wanting to get involved can go to grannybasketball.com, and they can read about how to form a new team. Our team is fairly full at this point. We never turn down a really good player, but that’s all we can handle right now, as far as players. However, the other two teams are always looking for new players, so they just go there and read about it and there’s a way to contact the director who will get in touch with us.”
The executive director is Michele Clark, who can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.