by Joni Astrup
Julie Mayo wanted to exercise and have some fun at the same time. Her answer? Play basketball.
The 5-foot, 10-inch Elk River woman played basketball at one time at Barnesvile High School. She loves the sport and felt it would hold her attention more than running on a treadmill or going to a health club.
So she collaborated with District 728 Community Education to launch a class called Basketball As Fitness. It’s billed for women ages 40 and up.
Both of Mayo’s daughters, Sherryse and Angela, played basketball for the Elks and Mayo has friends who are “retired basketball moms” as well. She figured if she recruited a couple of them and got a few more people to sign up, she’d have enough for the class.
Jay Grammond of Community Education said Mayo approached them with the idea and they thought it was great.
“It’s something different for people to do,” he said.
The first class was offered in January 2012, and there was enough interest to continue. Since then there have been several more classes with the next one beginning Sept. 22 and running from 5:30-7 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 27 at VandenBerge Middle School gym in Elk River. It includes drills and scrimmages to develop aerobic stamina and strengthen and stretch muscles.
“Turned out that it was lots of fun,” said Mayo, who is employed as a case worker for Sherburne County Health and Human Services. “Good laughs — good for the body and the soul, both.” Plus, it’s a really good workout, she said.
Mary Buckentine, of Rogers, said she signed up for the first Basketball As Fitness class after seeing it in the Community Education brochure. She didn’t know anyone at first, but liked the class and has been part of every one since.
“I just love basketball,” said Buckentine, who played for Belgrade High School. “At home I just don’t make the time to exercise. When I go there, it’s fun. We laugh and talk a lot, but we get a good workout.”
She encourages women thinking about joining the class to try it. She said they shouldn’t worry if they’re good enough at the sport because no one will judge them or laugh at them.
“Well,” Buckentine added, “we do plenty of laughing, but we won’t laugh at someone. It’s just fun.”
The cost of the class is $29 for individuals or $55 a pair. To register or for more information, go to www.728communityed.com or call 763-241-3520.