A UT ‘Shorthorn’ Met Her Political Heroes, Surprisingly, On The Basketball Court

When Julia Decker was a kid, she was a Shorthorn for the UT women’s basketball team. But it wasn’t the players whom she idolized. 

By Joy DiazJune 4, 2019 4:25 pm,

Many parents turn to sports when their kids are bouncing off the walls with energy. Julia Decker’s mom was no exception. When Decker was just 10 years old, her mother signed her up for the “Shorthorns” program for young girls through the University of Texas at Austin’s women’s basketball team. The Shorthorns were in charge of cleaning the court, plus, they got to interact with the players and attended every game.

At her first game, Decker’s fellow Shorthorns were excited to meet the players. But Decker was excited to meet two non-players who were also there: Gov. Ann Richards and Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Decker says both were surprised and pleased to learn that she knew who they were.

“I ran over to Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan with my little autograph book and I asked for their autographs,” Decker says. “They probably thought I was the most adorable, nerdy little 10 year old that they had ever met.”

Decker is now a government professor at Austin Community College, and says that meeting Richards and Jordan was a powerful moment that she never forgot.

“Almost all of the games that I ever went to, they were there if they could be,” Decker says. “Getting to meet those powerful women takes them out of the history book and puts them right in front of you, and you realize they are real people who have accomplished amazing things with their life.”


Written by Marina Marquez.