I’m Lola (Ham) Mundell and I was a Flying Queen from 1964-65 through 1967-68.
One of the most exciting things in my young life was that in one game my freshman year I held Nera White of Nashville Business College (NBC) to six points. To put this in perspective, Nera was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 and her citation reads in part as follows:
Nera White was one of the most complete female players of her era and a pioneer during the early days of women’s basketball . . . She was quite simply faster, quicker, and stronger than most women of that generation. White was named an AAU All-America an astounding 15 years in a row . . . she was named the AAU Tournament’s Most Valuable Player ten times. A player whose skill and athleticism were before her time, White was one of the best woman players in the world.
Nera was one of the best woman players in the world and I held her to 6 points!
Nera and Nashville were our archrivals. We were college students who could play for a maximum of 4 years. She and other NBC players basically had unlimited eligibility. They worked in and around Nashville and were sponsored by NBC. Nera, for example, played from 1955-1969. NBC was a well-oiled machine and were hard to beat. During my freshman year we split even with them in the regular season but lost to them the finals of the National AAU Tournament. During my sophomore year, where I was named an AAU All-American, they again beat us in the National Finals after beating us in all regular season games. My junior year, we beat them one out of four times in the regular season but didn’t get to play NBC in the finals as we were upset by the Raytown Piperettes in the semifinals and had to settle for third place. Nashville dominance continued during my senior year, and in fact continued until the AAU adopted the 5 on 5 rules and Nashville’s veterans decided to retire rather than be subjected to the full-court pace. From the “Celebrate the Wins” campaign (fundraiser where we could donate x dollars for every game we won while at Wayland), I learned that during my tenure, we won 84 games and lost 23 games. Fifteen of those losses were to NBC.
A highlight of my junior year was being named a member of the USA team and playing in the World Tournament in Prague, Czechoslovakia, April 14th thru 23rd of 1967. I was also a member of the USA team and played in the Pan American games in Winnipeg, Canada, July 24th thru August 6th of 1967. There we won a Silver Medal.
You may have already been able to tell that the Flying Queens were the reason I chose to go to Wayland. In fact the Queens were probably the only reason I even went to college. I grew up on a small farm west of Laverne, Oklahoma, with Mom, Dad, one sister and lots of love. After graduation from high school in May 1964, my high school coach took me to Wayland to try out for the Queens. I was offered a scholarship and I came to Wayland. My experience at Wayland was a good one. I experienced a totally different life style and it prepared me to be able to make decisions that would affect the rest of my life.
After graduating, I coached and taught school for seven years and then married Terry Mundell. We have been married for 49 years and have farmed and ranched all of that time. I really enjoy the ranch. It is our life! The highlight of my life was marrying Terry and having our son Shane. The lowlight was losing Shane at age 21. I have one step-daughter, Doris. She and her husband Henning have two daughters, Emma and Matilda.
They live in Brussels and the “now” picture is of us visiting there. My action picture is my pre-game warm-up trick. I would balance my body on my left arm and dribble with my right hand while using my feet to turn my body in a complete circle. Our Harlem Globetrotter style warm-up, complete with “Sweet Georgia Brown,” always rallied the crowd. This tradition had its beginning in the mid 1950’s in a Nashville Hotel where both the Queens and the Harlem Globetrotters were snowed in. Coach Redin convinced Globetrotter star, Marques Haynes, to teach the Queens some tricks. A tradition was born.
If I got a chance to talk to current Queens, I would tell them that the most important thing I learned from playing basketball was how to win and lose gracefully. I would also tell them: Enjoy – Winning is not everything – Enjoy the Game!
I have stayed in contact with teammates Gayle Nicholas, Linda (Pickens) Price, Linda Tucker and Mary Lois Finnley. I look forward to reconnecting with other Queens and supporters.
Lola Ham Mundell
Wayland Grad 1968
Flying Queens Forever!