At the height of the Great Depression, Sam Babb, the charismatic basketball coach of tiny Oklahoma Presbyterian College, began dreaming. Like so many others, he wanted a reason to have hope. Traveling throughout the dust-blown countryside, he recruited talented, hardworking young women and offered them a rare opportunity to escape the backbreaking work and desperate uncertainty of farm life in 1930s Oklahoma. Among Babb’s first recruits was the tiny but powerful shot-maker Doll Harris. Part-Cherokee and part-Irish, she was the daughter of a poor tenant farmer who went hungry to save money for his daughter’s basketball shoes. Then came Lucille Thurman, sixteen years old and nearly six feet tall, a shy but determined girl from a backwoods place called Cookietown.
In the fall of 1931, these and other new recruits such as tough-minded Hazel Vickers, lithe Coral Worley, and the beautiful Lahoma Lassiter, combed the sagebrush out of their hair and enrolled in Oklahoma Presbyterian College. Dust Bowl Girls takes these characters on an improbable journey to an epic showdown with the prevailing national champions, helmed by the legendary Babe Didrikson. It captures a remarkable moment in American sports history, when a beloved and visionary coach helped his young athletes achieve far more than a winning season.
Speaker: Lydia Reeder
Lydia Reeder is the grandniece of Sam Babb, the extraordinary basketball coach featured in Dust Bowl Girls. An Oklahoma native, Lydia’s roots run deep. Her favorite times as a child were spent on her grandfather’s ranch near Chickasha making hay-bale tunnels, fishing for bass, or hiking through miles of pasture. Lydia has a Master of Arts in Speech Communication from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Arts in Adult Learning and Instructional Design from the University of Colorado at Denver. She has worked as a copywriter and editor on behalf of corporate and organizational clients, and most recently developed eLearning for a national nursing association. She lives in Denver with her husband. This is her first book.