OKLAHOMA CITY – The author of ‘Dust Bowl Girls’ will autograph copies of her new book at a special signing event scheduled for the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, 4040 N. Lincoln Boulevard (73105) in the capital city at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, February 6.
Lydia Reeder’s book tells the inspiring story of a little-known women’s college basketball team comprised of hard-working farm girls who never dreamed of going to college during the Great Depression. Led by Sam Babb, a tough, visionary coach, the Oklahoma Presbyterian College Cardinals barnstormed their way through the South and Midwest toward an epic showdown with Babe Didrikson and her team, the Dallas Golden Cyclones.
Eventually winning 89 consecutive games (including two Women’s National AAU Basketball Championships), the invincible Cardinals rallied the spirits of many suffering through the worst of the Dust Bowl.
Patrick B. McGuigan, in the latest edition of The City Sentinel newspaper, called the book “a true story for the ages.” McGuigan summarized the book’s significance this way:
“Before the Mighty Macs (Immaculata College in Pennsylvania), before Pat Summit set the basketball standard for modern women’s coaches at the University of Tennessee, and before the “Lady Sooners”
of Coach Sherri Coale, there was a one-legged Oklahoman named Sam Babb and his amazing squads.
He garnered the practical means to offer higher education to farm girls who wanted to keep playing basketball, and turned them into a powerful athletic force.”
In a glowing review for The Oklahoman newspaper, Ed Godfrey concluded, “’Dust Bowl Girls’ is another great sports story about an underdog whose triumphs inspired a community that badly needed a lift in the midst of hard economic times. I can’t wait for the movie.” The City Sentinel heartily recommends that everyone who can join in celebrating this incredible true story at the Jim Thorpe Museum – Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, where the Cardinals’ legacy lives on.
Already the book is garnering major national attention, with nearly every critic referrring to the story’s potential for the big screen.
Karen Abbott, a New York Times bestselling author of ‘Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, said “Lydia Reeder has crafted a thrilling, cinematic story that seems destined for the big screen. I loved every minute I spent with the bold, daring women of the Cardinals basketball team, whose remarkable journey to victory is the stuff of American legend.” Kirkus Review, in a pre-publication assessment, declared, “As she tells the amazing story of Babb and his underdog women’s basketball team, Reeder also reveals the challenges facing serious female athletes during the 1920s and ’30s, including the perceived risk of ‘destroying their feminine image by invading a man’s world.’ Sports fans and general readers alike are sure to find the story both worthwhile and entertaining. A heartwarmingly inspirational tale.”
Complete publishing information:
Lydia Reeder, ‘Dust Bowl Girls: The Inspiring Story of the Team that Barnstormed Its Way to Basketball Glory,’ Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (a division of Workman Publishing, New York), 286 pages with detailed notes.
The book is available locally at Full Circle Books, 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City. In 1978, Coach Babb (Lydia Reeder’s great uncle) was inducted into the Jim Thorpe Memorial – Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2003, the Cardinals were inducted as the Hall’s very first “Team of Legend.”
McGuigan will introduce Ms. Reeder at the event.