This girl has done more sports than Ellyse Perry!
I was one of those kids who did a different sport every day of the week. I went to state championships for about 6 or 7 different sports, but it got to the point where nippers and athletics were having competitions on the same day and I was getting too tall for gymnastics, so I had to start choosing which ones I could play. It was more just availability than anything else. My Dad really wanted one of the kids to play rugby union, but my brother isn't into rugby, so Dad signed me up. I played for several years, but then switched into refereeing for a while.
Around that age I was looking for another sport to get into because I wasn't actually playing rugby anymore, so Mum enrolled me to play netball with some girls from school. The migration from rugby to netball, from full contact and highly competitive, to non-contact and more social, didn't really sit with me too well. I just got a bit frustrated.
Eventually Mum took me to a mixed basketball club. When I started I was one of the only girls on the team. I played in a competition called Jam at Randwick Boys, which was all about development basketball. Then someone who played at another competition in Sydney pulled me over and brought me into their team, saying that I might get spotted for representative basketball.
I played there for a long time and was selected for representative level when I was 11. Playing there was great and I was very fortunate to have a very strong team that I played in. Four or five girls from my team are now leading the American Collage tournament. We ended up winning four or five state titles as we went up the age groups.
Several girls dropped out and stopped playing during the HSC. I found it was actually a really good outlet and it helped me study and focus. It was good to have something outside of school. When I came to uni I played for the UNSW local competition team and was still playing representative. I had a friend who knew several other girls who played here and we all got into unigames together.
At first I was a bit hesitant and unsure about making friends, but I found that playing with people, both boys and girls, was a great way to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people I wouldn't normally have talked to. Unigames is a crazy week that's lots of mischief and lots of fun, but in the end you are really close with a group of people because they essentially become your family for the week.
It introduced me to a whole new group of people from all over the university. I mean, I had my med science friends, but these new friends were engineers and arts students, or studying media or PR or whatever. As med science people, we essentially spend most of our time up in one building on upper campus, and go to the same food court and get the same food all the time. My friends from basketball are from all over campus and introduced me to so many new things. I walk down the main walkway now and bump into like 12 different people that I know through basketball because it expanded my social circle so much.
Sport has only helped and expanded her study
It's really cool studying medical science and being in sport because I can always relate the two together. When I'm studying muscular anatomy or whatever, I'm always like 'oh, so when I do this stretch it's that muscle, and when I do this exercise at the gym it's working this muscle.' I had a pretty bad ankle injury a while back and had to go to the physio. He was like 'oh if you're interested...' and pulled out a book with all the anatomy in it. He was like 'this is what's here and this is what you've done. We're going to massage here and ultrasound here, and we're going to do these muscle activities to activate this
particular muscle.' He explained it in a way that I found really interesting. It was him taking a step that was beyond just the physiotherapy because he could see that I was interested to know what it's all about.
Most of the time I don't have an issue fitting sport in around my study. The only time I do have a problem is during stu vac or exam period, but I guess that's only a natural thing.
One of the beautiful things about basketball is that you just need a ring and a ball, that's it. You can do it by yourself, and then if you set aside a bit of time for a game sometime then you can have so much fun with it!
Most of the time sport actually helps with uni work. There are countless studies that show that doing physical activity helps with memory and retention. I find it helps me concentrate and compartmentalise my life. It's good to have that outlet that's not uni.
I've also learnt so many useful life things through sport. I ended up getting involved on the executive of the Basketball Club pretty early on and have been the manager of pretty much every unigames that I've been to except the first two. That means I've been involved in the organising of things, the funding of events, working out payment plans and sorting out the social aspect of the club too. In a way it's very refreshing because it's kind of nice to learn how to do these things. I work with commerce majors and they've taught me all these things about financials that I never would have otherwise known.
The best way to get started in sport?
Talk to people. I can guarantee you that in any sport you want to play, there are girls there. If you aren't comfortable talking to the guys then I completely understand it. But I can guarantee there will be a really lovely girl who will probably be on the executive, or can point you to one of the executive, who will have all the information and make it a priority that you know what's happening, you know what's going on and you can get involved.
If nothing else, reach out and establish a connection, because once you've got that then it’s so much easier from there. 9 times out of 10 they just want people to come and play, so they'd love to hear from you!