Over the 1983-84 holiday break, Dickinson’s women’s basketball team traveled to Europe to compete. In a June 22, 1983 memo to Deans Allan and Goldberg, Coach Judy Yorio notes that the team “will be the first group to undertake such an endeavor.” Yorio made a compelling case for the need to “expand the educational experience of our players” and continued by laying out a robust rationale:
“The rationale for such a trip is threefold:
a) Since the basketball season covers both academic semesters, most of our scholar-athletes are hesitant to become involved in off-campus study. Their dedication to our athletic program should be rewarded not looked at as a cause for missed opportunities. Our players sacrifice many things to be athletes at Dickinson and we want them to be proud of themselves and provide them with as many differing and positive experiences as possible.
b) The long semester break does create some problems within the continuity of our basketball program. This would provide another avenue to expose our players to differing levels of basketball, rules, and players.
c) Probably the most important point is the overall educational experience of our team. The opportunity to live, work, and play with different cultures can only broaden our scope of the world and the people who comprise it. This will be an experience that they will never forget . . . once in a life time. We are very proud of our program and its members and we want to continue that type of pride in Dickinson.”
The trip was organized under the auspices of the International Sports Exchange which, Yorio is quick to state, is approved “by the International Basketball Association as well as the NCAA.” Players were responsible for their own travel expenses, although two fundraisers were planned to help insure that all players could participate.
The European trip occurred from December 27, 1983-January 5, 1984 and the team traveled to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. An article on page 15 of the February 2, 1984 Dickinsonian explains that 15 players and 7 chaperones made the trip. The team played 5 games and, although the style of play was more aggressive than the team was accustomed to, they posted an impressive 4:1 record. (The team went on to win the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship.) Coach Yorio’s evaluation of the trip counts it as very successful; the only untoward event was that one member of the group had to have an emergency appendectomy during the trip.
The trip was so noteworthy that the 1984-85 Women’s Basketball program mentions it as one of the highlights of the previous season and Coach Yorio observed that “I can only say that we had a super time. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Written by Donna M. Bickford, Ph.D., Director, Women’s and Gender Resource Center
Thanks to Malinda Triller-Doran, Special Collections Librarian, for her help with this research.