This afternoon, when Bryn Mawr’s Varsity basketball team travels to St. Timothy’s day and boarding school to take on their varsity squad, both teams will be doing more than shooting hoops: they’ll be making history. Today marks the 111th such game between the two teams.
Not a typical matchup — Bryn Mawr is in the B conference; St. Timothy’s, the C — the teams nonetheless have been meeting annually for a friendly basketball competition for the past 110 years, save one year in which a measles outbreak disrupted the long-standing tradition.
The two schools played the first of these friendly competitions in 1901. The game looked a lot different back then. It was played on an outdoor court at the Catonsville estate of Mary Elizabeth Garrett, co-founder of Bryn Mawr. Girls passed and shot a weighty leather ball while wearing long, heavy corduroy skirts and wool blouses. After the spirited game in which Bryn Mawr won, 8–7, the two teams sat down together for tea and cake.
Reflecting on the significance of this year’s game, which falls on the fortieth anniversary of Title IX—the landmark ruling that brought gender equity to school’s playing fields—St. Timothy’s athletic director Kara Carlin said: “It shows where women’s sports have come.” Prior to Title IX, the main physical activities available to girls were cheerleading and square-dancing, and only one in 27 girls played high school sports, according to the Title IX website.
“The biggest difference [in women’s basketball] is how physical the sport has become,” Carlin said. To see for yourself, join the crowd today at 4:30 pm in St. Timothy’s state-of-the-art athletic complex.