I am Alice “Cookie” Barron, 83 years old, and never played in a losing game while attending Wayland Baptist College (1954-57)! I grew up in Georgetown, Texas, the last of four children, two girls and two boys.
Mother was a stay-at-home mom until I was 11 and ran our household with authority. In the last birthday card I received before she died at 80-years-old, she wrote, “I knew early on that you had a mind of your own and would do well in life.” I cannot express how much that card meant to me.
My father was a railroad man, loved his job and was athletic. He taught us to swim, walk on our hands, play softball and quote limericks. Dad gave me the nickname “Cookie.” There was a song “Looky, Looky, Looky, Here Comes Cookie” that was popular when I was born. He sang, I laughed and hence was always Cookie.
We lived in four different houses on my Grandpa Gustafson’s farms. We never had electricity, running water or an indoor bathroom, but we were a happy family. We played outside all day and learned to love and appreciate the outdoors. When we moved to town, we were excited the house had running water, electricity, and indoor plumbing!
Georgetown was a small community where everyone knew everyone else and class or status did not matter. In the ninth grade my principal, Mr. Everett Williams, started a girls’ basketball program. That was the first time I shot a basketball.
My brothers put up a basketball goal in our back yard where I practiced and learned to shoot, playing endlessly in the dirt. I played mind games, visualizing a packed gym with me on the free throw line or taking the last shot in a game. If I made the shot, we won the game; if I missed we lost, and I was always very disappointed when I missed.
In high school I played basketball, volleyball, softball, and tennis. I earned 16 letters, was a starter, and played two sports in the same season.
I had no idea who the Flying Queens were until my senior year. Two Wayland ministerial students conducted a summer revival for our Baptist church. One of our members told them they should give “Cookie” a scholarship. I was introduced to them and my dream ignited. I knew my parents did not have the money to send me to Plainview to try out, so I never asked them to send me.
Instead, I was recruited by Cisco Junior College and went there my first year on a full scholarship. We had a good team and went to the National AAU Tournament in St. Joseph, Mo., as an at-large team. We upset the fourth-seeded team then lost the second game, which was our only loss that season. Coach Harley Redin saw me play and invited me to Wayland for the tryouts. My parents bought me a bus ticket and off I went in the spring of 1954. There were 42 young hopefuls trying out for one scholarship. As it turned out, three of us received scholarships: Kaye Garms, Marion Brown, and me. So, in the fall of 1954 I went to Wayland on a full athletic scholarship.
My years as a Flying Queen at Wayland were wonderful, happy, joyful, spiritual, and exciting. I worked hard to be the best I could be. My most cherished memories include playing on three National AAU Championship teams and not losing a game. I will always remember making the free throws in 1957 in the third overtime to win against Iowa Wesleyan to keep the win streak going. [See editor’s note 3.] Also memorable was making the AAU All-America team and serving as co-captain my senior year. Being selected for the USA team that won the 1957 World Tournament in Rio de Janeiro beating Russia in the finals before 35,000 fans was a thrill.
After graduating from Wayland, I taught and coached for the Clear Creek school district in Texas for eight years. During that time NASA was built and the U.S. space program began. I coached and taught several of the original seven astronauts’ daughters.
I earned my masters and administrative degrees to prepare for my future in education as a coach, teacher, and administrator.
In 1965, I moved to Colorado and taught two years at Arvada West High School in the state’s largest school district, the Jefferson County Schools R-1. The district athletic director asked me to apply for a district administrative position. I was hired and spent the next 25 years starting and building a girls’ program in Jefferson County and raising awareness for girls’ sports in Colorado.
By the time I retired in 1991, the Jefferson County schools offered equal facility usage, equal sports and levels of competition for girls and boys, equal pay for coaches, and equal pay for officials in our district.
I have had numerous joys and feel so fortunate to be active and involved in many sports and organizations throughout my life. At this time my hobbies are golfing, hiking, and woodworking. More than anything, having a circle of friends is the greatest blessing. I am still in touch with many of my teammates; Kaye Garms, Rita Alexander Colman, Louise Short Grace, Mona Poff Biscoe, Patsy Neal, Judy Bugher, Joyce Kite, and Margaret Odom Parks. It has been a privilege serving on the Hutcherson Flying Queens Foundation Board and getting to know Flying Queens from other teams.
If I could share any words of wisdom with the current Queens, I would say enjoy every day, practice hard, develop friendships with your teammates and students at Wayland. Be a team player as it is more fun to share a victory with them and/or recover from a loss. Being a team player in a sport or professionally will get you through tough times.
I will forever be indebted to my family, my high school coaches, Coach Harley Redin for giving me a scholarship, and Claude and Wilda Hutcherson for their friendship and all they provided so that we had a first-class experience while playing the game of basketball and receiving an education.
Alice “Cookie” Barron
Wayland Grad 1957
Flying Queens Forever!