Kathy Eisemann, 70-year-old grandma fan, banned from all basketball games for swinging purse at hecklers

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A bizarre situation has unfolded in Southwestern Illinois, where a devoted 70-year-old grandmother is being kept away from her grandson’s basketball games by school officials, all over a brief incident that was brought on by taunts aimed at her.

70-year-old Kathy Eisemann, who was banned from all Belleville West basketball games — Belleville News-Democrat
70-year-old Kathy Eisemann, who was banned from all Belleville West basketball games — Belleville News-Democrat

As reported in detail by the Belleville News-Democrat, 70-year-old Kathy Eisemann has been so upset by her ban from all Belleville (Ill.) West High basketball games that she has spent days at home crying at game time when she can't go to the West gym. According to Eisemann’s daughter Kriss Foster, the grandmother's ban from all Belleville West basketball games dates to December, when she swung her purse at two people in the nearby crowd who were heckling her.

"It's just heartbreaking," Foster told the News-Democrat.

"She can't even go and watch, because they won't let her in there. … It's aggravating. Grandma loves to go and show her support."

Lately, Grandma Eisemann has been stuck at home during games, despite the fact that her family has explained that she suffers from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The senior citizen fan has also suffered two strokes and uses a wheelchair to get around.

The most disappointing game for Eisemann to miss came on Tuesday night, when her grandson, 18-year-old Donnie Foster, was celebrated along with the rest of the Belleville West senior class.

Now that’s gone, though school officials claim that they’ve relented for the forthcoming baseball season and will allow Eisemann to watch Donnie Foster’s baseball games from the stands. There’s no word if similar restrictions would be put in place for other sporting events inside Belleville West that involve Donnie Foster’s two younger brothers.

Regardless of the less stringent penalties to come, the all-out basketball ban is “ridiculous,” according to Kriss Foster.

"She [Eisemann] doesn't understand why she can't go and how do you explain it in the situation she is in," Foster said. "She doesn't think it was that big of a deal." ...

"She just wants to go watch her grandson," Foster said.

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