While I taught, I continually heard that there was too much
going into sports and not enough in the classroom. The physical
education department always seemed to get more favor. I now have
seen the other side!

Women’s sports are nothing new, but sometime in the 1940s,
sports for women died for nearly a whole generation. A hundred
years ago women’s sports were alive and thriving. In places like
Goldfield, Cripple Creek, Victor, even Florissant, women, not
teenage girls, were actively participating in sports.

Strangely enough, the favored sport was basketball. There have
been some interesting variations over the years, like differing
numbers of players from three to seven – generally, girls had six
on a team. Women in the mining district conducted their own
tournaments for children and adults. Goldfield and Victor were home
to several state championship women’s and girls’ teams 100 years
ago. The decline in the population after 1920 killed off most of
these community competitions. The schools had girls’ teams into the

Adult sports centered on baseball, but there did not seem to be
many women playing. Some mines hosted teams, and they would play at
fields all over the district. There were strong rivalries between
the district and teams from Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and
Leadville. Football was not quite as popular as rugby, the more
strenuous sport. Even cricket teams made the rounds all over the

Now wait – I am talking adult teams mainly here, not school
teams. However, a few schools hosted high school teams, and the
district did well in competition with other districts. Our present
league can be traced back 100 years. The Gold Miners even traveled
to the silver camp in Aspen and the coal camps in

It was a great outlet for individuals before the days of
television, radio, computers and even movies with sound. Nearly
every gold camp had a ball diamond or grassy field for cricket,
rugby, soccer or football. It was not even just a Sunday afternoon
activity. Even in the evening, games took place until darkness