Wylie’s very own Golden Girls are easily identified by their gray hair, but what people might not know is that their blood is pure purple.
Betty Hines, 81; Nancy Allen, 77; and Golda Harris, 82, dubbed the Gray-Haired Ladies by Wylie parents, can be found at almost any Wylie sporting event – especially basketball and volleyball, where they sit on the top row in Bulldog gym. They are just a bunch of sports-loving women, who over the years have become diehard Wylie fans.
“They have a great bunch of kids at Wylie,” Golda said. “This is what keeps me going. I love sports.”
Over the years the threesome have garnered quite a bit of attention from parents, coaches and even students, all of whom are amazed that three older women would be so committed to attending Wylie games.
“The parents started making a big deal about us after we got old and gray,” Betty said. “People started making a big tadoo about us going.”
None of the ladies went to school at Wylie, although Betty has been going to Wylie sporting events since 1949.
“My uncle (Raybon Landers) was a Wylie coach and then superintendent,” she said. “Back then, I went to football and girls’ basketball. Now I go to everything.”
Betty grew up in View and went to school at Butterfield back before it combined with Wylie. Butterfield did not have high school, so Betty went to Abilene High.
She raised her family in View and her children and her grandchildren went to Wylie, so she continued to be a Wylie sports fan.
“My daughter was manager of the girls’ basketball team,” she said. “My son played football, but most of the time he sat on the bench.”
Two of her three grandchildren were drum majors in the Wylie band. But even after they graduated, she and her best friend (Nancy’s sister) would go to all the Wylie sporting events together. In 2010, Nancy moved to Abilene and when her sister could no longer go to the games, Nancy became Betty’s game buddy.
“I inherited Betty by default,” Nancy said. “I started going to a volleyball game here and there. Then I started going to basketball and football.”
Golda, who grew up in Sweetwater, has known Betty for 20 years and when she got invited to go to a Wylie game, she was more than ready.
“I love any sport,” she said. “You say basketball, football, volleyball, and I’m ready.”
Sometimes a few other friends will join the trio, but most of the time it’s the three of them. They even go to the out-of-town games; always stopping to eat in whatever town they are visiting. So far, nothing has been too far away.
“Betty drives, and Nancy navigates and I sit in the back seat and enjoy the scenery,” Golda said.
Sometimes they are faced with a dilemma about which team to go see, especially during basketball playoffs when the boys and girls can be playing on the opposite ends of the state.
“We have been known to go see the girls at state in San Antonio and then drive to Lubbock for the boys’ game,” Nancy said.
All three have been sports fans since they were very young. Nancy played volleyball at Abilene High School, and Betty was on the girls’ intramural football team at Abilene High. Golda played on Sweetwater’s first UIL volleyball team.
If you ask them which sport is their favorite, they are quick to answer.
“Whatever’s playing,” Golda said. “I love them all.”
“The one I’m watching,” Betty agreed. “It used to be girls’ basketball, and I guess it still is. But there’s nothing like Friday night football.”
They also go to local college games, and they went to a San Antonio Spurs game together last year. Golda goes to the Texas Longhorn games in Austin with her son.
“We remain, friends, even though she’s a Longhorn, and I’m an Aggie fan,” Betty said.
Nancy said she stays out of that college rivalry.
“I keep a low profile,” she laughed.
The women have enjoyed watching Wylie’s most prominent athletes and following their careers through college and even professionally. Many times over the years, student-athletes have come up and hugged them and thanked them for coming to the games, and a few times, the women have even received gifts, such as a signed basketball. This past fall, the volleyball players presented the three ladies with a framed team photo and a card that the team had signed.
The women have also been invited to team functions from time-to-time, including once when Betty was asked to speak to the girls’ basketball team at a team dinner.
“I told them I already had my ticket bought for the state tournament, so they better go,” she said. “They did that year.”
The name Gray-Haired Ladies came from some of the parents – obviously based on the fact that all three have gray hair.
“That’s the only way people know us,” Betty said. “Usually, they just say those three old ladies.”
Golda said the attention is fun.
“Joey Light calls us the Golden Girls,” she said. “They say I’m getting to be a celebrity now.”
But the ladies don’t go to Wylie games for the attention or even for any particular kid. They go for fun.
“My grandmother’s favorite expression was if you sit down you die,” Golda said. “She lived about six months shy of being 100. So I keep going.”
“This is how we get out of the house,” Nancy agreed. “It’s just fun for us.”
And you would be hard pressed to find bigger Wylie Bulldog fans anywhere, even though none of them actually attended Wylie.
“My priority is now Wylie,” Golda said. “I’m all in.”
“I’m a Wylie fan now.”