Friday, February 3, 2017

Lydia Reeder's "Dust Bowl Girls"

Lydia Reeder is the grandniece of Sam Babb, the extraordinary basketball coach featured in Dust Bowl Girls: The Inspiring Story of the Team That Barnstormed Its Way to Basketball Glory.

Reeder 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.

Here Reeder dreamcasts an adaptation of Dust Bowl Girls, her first book:
Dust Bowl Girls is an epic sports story about a struggling women’s college basketball team called the Oklahoma Presbyterian College Cardinals. In the fall of 1931, they unexpectedly start winning game after game, and against all odds, become inspirational heroes. Their tough, visionary coach, Sam Babb, was my great uncle. Since it's about real people, I didn't write it with any actors in mind. But many times after I have described the book, those listening comment that it would make a great movie. It’s Hoosiers and A League of Their Own rolled into one.

My great Uncle Sam, the coach, was my grandmother’s favorite brother. He died long before I was born, but his charisma had left a strong impression on those who had known him. Both my grandmother, her sister, and other relatives said that Sam reminded them of Spencer Tracy, especially his Academy Award winning performance as Father Flanagan in Boys Town. Like Flanagan, Sam was always looking out for the underdog.

Dust Bowl Girls is very cinematic. The team of teenage farm girls, all expert athletes, traveled across country in a creaky, old crank-start bus competing against other women’s teams. Their fiercest opponent was the famous athlete Babe Didrikson, who played for the national champion Dallas Golden Cyclones. The fabulous Lori Petty, at age 20 (A League of Their Own, Tank Girl), would have made a great Babe.

Doll Harris, the confident team captain, was tiny at 5’2”, and part Irish-part Cherokee. To play Doll, readers have mentioned the Irish and American actress Saoirse Ronan or Maisie Williams, the fantastic actress from Game of Thrones. Personally, Doll reminds me of a teenage Ava Gardner.

For director, I would love Ava DuVernay (Selma, Wrinkle in Time) or Ron Howard, who happens to be from Oklahoma.
Visit Lydia Reeder's website.

--Marshal Zeringue