BC’s grandmother performs before millions of fans on Tik Tok and Instagram

Shirley Simson is tied up so they don’t applaud her

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Google Translate doesn’t convert trash talk into mainstream English, which is why Shirley Simson in good faith says something like “stay tied” in her basketball social media posts, which are viewed by millions.

“Every era seems to have its own way of connecting,” Simson, 84, said by phone from West Kelowna. “It’s totally different slang, (viewers) sometimes can’t seem to understand what I’m saying, like ‘I’m stuck’ or using other players’ names.”

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Then Simson casually throws out phrases like “Chef Curry with the pot” (an allusion to a Drake song that references NBA star Steph Curry) or “I’m cooking” (I’m doing it right).

Shirley Simson
Shirley Simson exercising. Photo by HUNTER SIMSON /DISTRIBUTE

He trusts his grandson Parker, his main screenwriter, not to let him say anything that crosses the line.

“She doesn’t know what I’m making her say, so she trusts that everything is fine and that it’s okay for her to say it,” Parker said.

By the way, staying tied is a gangsta term that means stay armed.

Parker Simson, 25, and his brother Hunter Simson, 21, are two of Simson’s 14 grandchildren. A mother of four, she also has 10 great-grandchildren, but it was Parker and Hunter who started her on the path to stardom when they convinced her to make some videos for her company. Court sweetsa basketball apparel company they founded in 2020 (under the name Sport Drip).

The brothers, athletes who played college basketball (Parker at UBC, Hunter at Okanagan College) were frustrated because they couldn’t buy the same gear they saw their favorite players wear because the pros had access to limited-edition clothing that wasn’t available for Players. public.

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Dressing her grandmother in Court Candy clothes and putting on Simson Tik Tok and instagram It was a great marketing strategy, but also much more than that.

Simson, whose 85th birthday is May 31, a birthdate she shares with Hunter, underwent knee surgery and was caring for her husband David, who died late last year, and her grandchildren could see the toll. that this was taking a physical toll on him.

They got her to start going to the gym to train with them, recording the sessions almost as an afterthought and publishing the videos as “Grandma to the WNBA.”

“The guys didn’t like that I wasn’t in shape,” Simson said. “They said, ‘We’ll get you in shape and make some videos with us.’”

It makes it sound like a cold, calculated business decision, Parker interjected, “but we just want her to be alive another 15 or 20 years, we want her to be in the best shape possible.”

Simson laughed as he spoke.

The idea to get her back in shape while promoting her court attire came from a young man who had made it to the NCAA Div. 1 basketball posting videos of himself.

“(Simson) said, ‘Why not? Let’s go to the gym in the morning and do it,’” Parker said. “And honestly, he quickly stopped doing anything business-related and moved on to spending time with her and her fun adventures (that followed).

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“It took on a life of its own in a really cool way.”

It is a special relationship.

“I was there when they were born, through all the torturous births, we’ve been together since they were born,” Simson said.

“We consider ourselves friends. I had a good relationship with my grandmother, although we only saw her on vacation, and I met three of my great-grandparents.”

SHIRLEY SIMSON
Hunter Simson (left), Shirley Simson and Parker Simson. The grandmother has become a social media favorite in what started as a promotion for her two grandsons’ basketball apparel company, Court Candy. Photo by HUNTER SIMSON /DISTRIBUTE

Of Ukrainian descent, Simson grew up in bralornetoday a ghost town north of Pemberton, where his father was a gold miner and multigenerational housing was the norm.

Today, Hunter lives in Simson’s house with her, while Parker’s house is on the other side of the back fence.

“I think that’s what’s been lost today, the closeness of family, really,” he said.

Simson hadn’t played basketball since she played basketball in nursing school, but she loves sports and is a big Toronto Raptors fan (she even follows how former Raptors are doing).

At 5-foot-4 (she estimates she’s shrunk a couple of inches), Simson’s vertical was last measured at 0.67 inches, but Hunter is sure she’s increased that number as she aims for an inch. The hoop she shoots at is eight feet tall, a couple of feet shorter than a WNBA hoop, and she’s working on her strength to reach the official height.

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From not being able to dribble the ball at all, Simson can now dribble two balls at once more than 20 times in a row.

“That’s great,” Parker said. “She’s a good athlete and we put a lot of pressure on her.”

Having played basketball at a high level, the children coached their grandmother the same way they were coached.

“We would train a younger player the same way. We want her to always be improving, that’s the fun of it.

“But the biggest surprise was when he dribbled those two balls at the same time. We were just testing her to see if she could do it.

“We push her to stretch.”

What started as a promotion turned into a journey. Her fame has led to her being stopped and asked for autographs.

However, there is one thing you would love to come out of all of this.

“She wants to sit courtside at a Raptors game,” Hunter said. “She wants to meet Drake.”

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