Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

12-Branch Family Tree Meier Clan Goes out on a Limb for Basketball

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

12-Branch Family Tree Meier Clan Goes out on a Limb for Basketball

Article excerpt

For the Meier mob, sports comes as naturally as, well, childbirth.

Mimi and Tom Meier raised 12 children, a labor of love. From the eldest Betsy to baby "B," the Meier children played sports.

They played on soccer, volleyball, baseball and field hockey teams. Basketball ruled, though. Church leagues, city leagues, high school leagues and intercollegiate leagues listed Meiers on their rosters.

"We never pushed them," Tom Meier said. "The only thing we ever said was that if they made the commitment, they had to follow through with it."

Added Mimi Meier: "Sometimes, when we're sitting and watching TV, we look at one another and say `where should we be right now?' "

At a game.

One season - when four members of the Meier mob were in college, four in high school and three more in grade school - the family kept score of the number of games it saw.

Mimi and Tom Meier usually went to games together. If a scheduling conflict arose, they went separately.

"That season we figured we saw 120 basketball games," Tom Meier said.t

Nowadays, most of the Meiers have started families of their own around the St. Louis area.

But one of the latest in the long, tall line of Meiers, Julie, is setting school records at Southeast Missouri State University. She scores 13.2 points and snaps up 3.8 rebounds a game for a team that is 16-9. But it's her 3-point shooting that attracts attention.

Julie made only eight 3-pointers her freshman season. Now a junior, she's the school's career leader in 3-pointers made and attempted.

In late January, she led Division I women's basketball in 3-point shooting (47 for 89). She's since slipped to No. 2 in the country (65 for 137). "I feel more comfortable shooting a 3 than a 2," Julie said.

"She's achieved a great deal on and off the court," SEMO coach Ed Arnzen said, citing her 3.3 grade-point average. "And she's got a great family. They support each other."

***** The Meiers Lineup

For the record, here's the Meiers' roster: Betsy was born 33 years ago, Chris 32, Bob 31, Ted 30, Katie 29, Mark 28, Dan 26, Rick 25, Kelley 23, Todd 22, Julie 20 and B (real name Jennifer) 18. Their offspring numbers nine, so Tom and Mimi look forward to a new round of games when their grandchildren are old enough.

The siblings bear a remarkable resemblance: dark hair and dark eyes or dark hair and blue eyes, all lanky.

"People would ask at the mall `are you a Meier,' " 5-foot-10 Julie said. "It was kind of annoying but kind of flattering."

Amazingly, the Meiers got by with one telephone line. No call waiting. No one could recall arguments over using the phone or the bathroom.

"But it was always busy," Julie said, referring to the phone but also the Grand Central flow of family and friends through their house. A basketball court in the back yard became a magnet for attracting neighborhood kids. …

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