Minnesota head coach Pam Borton was one of several speakers at an important fund-raising event at Target Center on Saturday evening.
The "Links to the Past, Lynx to the Future" event served to help raise funds for a new basketball court and historical display as part of a new YMCA in the community where the sport of "Basket Ball" was first introduced in the state of Minnesota.
Max J. Exner was a friend and roommate of James Naismith, who is credited for founding the sport of basketball. When Exner moved to Northfield in 1892, he and his brother, Franz, are credited with first introducing the sport to Minnesotans. More importantly, the Exners taught the sport to the women of Carleton College, and women's basketball quickly spread across the state.
For the first time in history, Minnesota girls and women were participating in a team sport during an era that unfortunately lasted only 40 years. In the mid-1920's, state and national groups came to believe that intense competition posed the potential for negative effects on young women, and an entire generation of women were left with virtually no options for competitive sports for several decades until Title IX came into effect in 1972.
Northfield, home of Carleton College, now has the opportunity to build a YMCA community center, and key figures like Coach Borton, Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve, Timberwolves and Lynx majority owner Glen Taylor, and University of Minnesota Board of Regents member Peggy Lucas (also the granddaughter of Franz Exner and the grand niece of Max Exner) were on hand to lend their support.
Minnesota women's basketball radio analyst Lynnette Sjoquist, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, served as the event's emcee.