I’m Margaret Odom Parks and I was a Flying Queen from 1955-59. I grew up on a farm in Dimmitt, Texas. My parents, Hiram and Opal Odom had three daughters and I’m the middle child. We all worked on the farm growing up, and basketball was the center of our lives in school. I always planned to go to college. I wanted to be a teacher. Wayland provided the opportunity to get my college education and continue playing the game I loved! I was pretty well acquainted with Wayland when I arrived since my sister, Lometa, was a senior there when I entered as a freshman. I had spent weekends with her and had gone to most of her home basketball games. I enjoyed my years at Wayland! The teachers were dedicated and competent, and the students were friendly and pleasant. I met and dated my future husband there.
On remembering the wonderful experiences and exciting games I had while playing for the Flying Queens, one game stands out in my mind as the most exciting game I ever played! We had our great win-streak going, and we were playing Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. They, along with Nashville Business College of Nashville, TN, were our two toughest competitors! Iowa’s “big gun” was Barbara Sipes (6ft. 3in. and 200+ lb.) and she was TOUGH! It was my responsibility (5ft. 10in. and 135 lb.) to guard Big Barbara! The lead seesawed back and forth throughout the game, with the spread not exceeding 3 or 4 points. The game ended in a tie. The first and second overtimes also ended in ties! As we were huddling at the bench, getting ready for the third overtime, I felt so “drained” both physically and mentally, that I didn’t know if I would be able to walk out onto that court again, much less play with the intensity we needed to win! But when the buzzer sounded, I felt a shot of adrenalin going through me. I WAS READY, as was the rest of the team! We won in that third overtime and kept the win-streak going!
We had two main goals for that season (1956-57). Beat the 101 game winning streak record held by Hanes Hosiery and become the first team in history to win four consecutive National AAU Tournaments. We accomplished both but our 81st win, described above, was probably one of the all-time thrillers in women’s collegiate basketball history.
The next year, we finished the regular season with 129 wins and were hopeful of winning our 5th consecutive AAU National Tournament. However, Nashville Business College upset us in the semi-finals and stopped our winning streak at 131 games.
Because of my experiences at Wayland, especially playing with the Flying Queens, I gained a confidence and maturity that has lived within me throughout my life! It gave me a winning attitude in ALL that I do, and it made me realize that in all things “it ain’t over ‘til the buzzer sounds!”
My life has had more joys than sorrows. My husband, Francis Parks, whom I met at Wayland, became a doctor, and was Chief of Pathology at Spohn Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX, for 42 years. We had three children—David (deceased), Susan, and Shelley. Susan is a math teacher at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, and Shelley works for the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department. I taught math in junior high or high school during the time Francis was in medical school, internship, and residency. (I had 3 children in my spare time!) When he started his medical practice, I went to Texas A&I in Kingsville, TX, to work on my masters degree in math. I was a very busy stay-at-home wife and mom until the children were all out of high school. I taught math as an adjunct at Del Mar College for 6 years. We were able to travel to Europe, Iceland, twice to Alaska, and various other trips in the USA. For most summers and several autumns, our family enjoyed our favorite vacation spot, Creede, Colorado. My husband fished and hunted. I enjoyed sightseeing, jeep trips, and was an avid seamstress.
My sorrows include the loss of my son to cancer in 2005, the loss of my husband to Alzheimer’s in 2015, and my sister Lometa’s death in 2017.
Through all of this time, I maintained a close relationship with both my Wayland roommates, and was fortunate to be able to keep in contact with my teammates through reunions, awards, etc.
I think what would surprise my Wayland friends the most is that I have been trading equity options in the stock market for 22 years. I love the mental challenge, the competition (me against the market), and the thrill of winning. I don’t always win, but they would probably NOT be surprised that it only makes me try harder!
Through basketball, I learned confidence, trust, and a never-give-up attitude. To the 2018 Flying Queens and all future Queens I would say: Enjoy every moment! Learn all you can! Use what you learn! Take the time to THINK before you ACT! And always BE A QUEEN!
Margaret Odom Parks
Wayland Grad 1959
Flying Queens Forever!