It’s the sense of community – the facilitation of socialisation and the sense of belonging – that pick-up basketball provides. It’s the best vehicle to connect people and help find some purpose, and why community sports are so important. I hope young people don’t take it for granted, because playing NBA 2K on a headset is not the same!
It’s hard to pinpoint my first memory exactly, but it was probably a combination of a few things that helped cement basketball into my life. I was eight years old when I first played with a local domestic team. My mum used to take my brother and I to Sydney Kings games in the 1990s at The Entertainment Centre. This is when the Sydney Kings were regular wooden spooners, but the crowds were always packed and buzzing. During this time my older brother was really into the NBA, which was also peaking; he had posters of Penny Hardaway and Shaq. The Terrigal stadium had just been built across the road from our house too – a perfect storm really!
I eventually played much of my junior basketball with the Gosford City Rebels, and then the Central Coast Crusaders. I moved to Canberra for a period playing three seasons in the Waratah League with the Canberra Nationals and one season with the Canberra Capitals in the WNBL.
These days I play pick-up at my OG hometown court in Terrigal. It’s a life saver! The local women’s comps are junk, so pick-up is the only time I can play competitively and for fun. Being the only female player at our local pick-up, everyone is supportive and looks out for me. Not every male player has the same good attitude to playing with or against a female, but our culture at Sunday Scrimmage is strong enough to quash any of that nonsense.
I will always have basketball in my life one way or another. Even if I take a few years break, I know I will come back to it. It’s like leaving home for the first time, or spending a few years travelling. You can always comeback to your OG pick-up court and feel like you’re home.