COLUMBIA, Calif. — There's a new kind of basketball taking over Northern California, and chances are, you haven't seen anything like this before. It's fun, it's competitive - it's Granny Basketball.
"It's something that women can do at our age, and have a little exercise," said Nina Collins, a player on the team. "I have two new hips, and two new knees and I can play."
They may be seasoned, but don't let the friendly smiles fool you. This team of grannies can get buckets. The Granny Basketball League started in 2005, and expanded to California earlier this year, when head coach Barbara Trammell founded the team.
"In the Midwest, Granny Basketball is a big thing," Trammel said. "So when I got to California, I missed having a team, so I decided to start one here."
The team plays in Columbia, which is just north of Sonora in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and their team name is the Gold Diggers.
"We decided that Gold Diggers was the obvious choice because that's what Columbia's known for; digging for gold," Trammell said.
Among the many differences from traditional basketball, players have to be at least 50 years old to participate in the league. There are several rule modifications as well. Also, all teams must wear 1920's style uniforms, which has become a staple of the league.
"Back then, they didn't think that women could be very aggressive, so they expected modest costumes. No skin could be shown," Trammell said.
Most of the women on this team are retired educators or nurses and are just looking for something fun to do.
"We don't take each other seriously. We just laugh and have fun, and have exercise. And just laugh, laugh, laugh," Collins said.
The Gold Diggers are still waiting for other teams in the area to join the league, but in the meantime, they're taking part in scrimmages against various organizations to help raise money for good causes.
To find out more about Granny Basketball or to support, you can visit www.grannybasketball.com.