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An Experienced Lesson in Diversity

Sporty Jeralds introduced the students of his Current Issues and Trends in Sport and Entertainment class to a unique and once-in-a-lifetime guest speaker this week.

Mabel Guider, a lifetime Columbia resident who recently celebrated her 99th birthday in December, was an honored guest in Jeralds’ class to speak on issues pertaining to diversity.

An avid baseball fan her entire life, Guider began her talk with students from the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management describing what life was like growing up in a house of 11 in the early 1900’s in South Carolina. Raised with seven sisters and two brothers, Mabel took to baseball immediately. She even dated baseball players growing up as she spent her childhood Saturdays playing and watching baseball in the region with family and friends.


Mabel shared stories of walking five miles to school in Irmo each day when she was growing up because busses weren’t available to her. She also brought in relics to share like an old school bell, a broom she made and an iron stovetop kettle that belonged to her grandfather and dates back to the late 1800’s. The kettle was used by her and her siblings to warm up hot water for bathing when they were growing up.

As students interacted and asked questions, Guider discussed what it was like having lived through a pair of World Wars, the Great Recession, the Civil Rights Movement and into today’s technologically advanced world. She has seen the world change in just about every imaginable way and adds she never thought she’d be alive for the day the United States had an African-American president.


Mabel has been a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan and still watches all of their games on television. In addition, last summer she threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Columbia Blowfish game.


Jeralds, an industry veteran and clinical instructor in the SPTE department, stays at Guider’s home three nights a week while teaching in Columbia as he commutes from his home in Charlotte. “Having done this now for three years, I’ve grown to know Mrs. Guider and thought her stories and experiences could really be beneficial for my class,” he stated.

At age 99, Mabel is witty and articulate and still drives herself to church each Sunday. Guider’s husband passed away 13 years ago but she has a son and granddaughter along with many nieces and nephews in the area to keep her company.


She credits living as long as she has to never getting upset by much in life and added, “I really have enjoyed my life from the time I was a child up to where I am now.”