A letter from Mary Foley Schutjer

"Congratulations on 100 years of basketball. I was fortunate enough to play basketball and the experience the excitement of playing in the girls state tournament. I played when it was 6 on 6 in the late 50's and 1960 and played on a team from the small rural town of Corwith-Wesley.

The game taught us the importance of working together to achieve a goal, which we carried into our adult life. What a memorable experience it was to play basketball and play in the state tournament. Our first trip to the state tournament as part of the "sweet sixteen" was a bit overwhelming. For many of us it was our first time in Des Moines and first time staying in a hotel. We were treated like stars and made to feel so welcome. We were welcomed by Dr. E. Wayne Cooley and after one of our games in 1960, a sports writer from the Des Moines Register, Tony Cordero, presented me his hat after he interviewed a couple of us. The special treatment we received in Des Moines was outstanding - from enjoying breakfasts at Bishops to the breakfast at the Younkers Tea room where all the teams were honored. Each team received a gift bag and selected a girl as their "queen" to represent the team. Each "queen" received a Better Homes & Garden cookbook. I was chosen the team queen in 1960 and to this day still use the cookbook.

And who could forget the big snowstorm of 1959. Even though the Girls Union found our team a place to stay that night, many were stranded in the gym. Needless to say, we had quite the adventure trying to get to our motel. In 1960 we again played in the girls sweet sixteen state tournament. How privileged we felt to be one of sixteen teams to represent our communities and what a delight to see our community represented by a light bulb on the state map.

In 1960 we played to 4th place in the tournament and the trophy we were presented still holds a special place in our community. That year we were met about 25 miles from home with a car caravan escorting the team trophy back to town. Over the years, I have shown my children and grandchildren this special trophy.

But most of all, the most valuable thing I received out of playing basketball is the work ethic I learned and the very special bond that developed with the girls I played with and our coach. The strong bond we have has continued over the years and has gotten stronger. Our coach kept in touch with all of us until his death 3 years ago. He always told us how special we were; and to him, it was the best time of his life. To keep that special bond, he would send us a certificate for a box of candy every Christmas until his death. We always have given him credit for the closeness all of the girls have. This very special bond we formed playing basketball continues to be very strong today. Although it has been almost 60 years, we still get together every year for lunch to share memories of our basketball days and catch up with our families.

To this day, many people still tell us how they remember when we played basketball. I am so lucky and blessed to have played this game and the valuable bonds that came as a result of playing with my team. Thank you and congratulations on 100 years of providing girls in the state of Iowa the opportunity to play basketball."