I’m dedicating this post to the amazing friends I’ve made since I joined the Roehampton Women’s Basketball team! I know you guys are fans of this blog… so here’s your shout out (ANGELIKA cough cough).
Thinking back to my first few practices with the team, I can easily say that we have made so much progress throughout the season. There are a few moments that I will always remember about playing Roehampton basketball, the first being our first win of the season. It was Roehampton’s first win in a LONG time (according to some of the returning players) and we played St. George’s, a school near Tooting in southwest London, winning 95-26. Obviously, the other team didn’t have much talent at all, but I was still really proud of our girls for doing their best and playing seriously the whole time. Coach Kenny pushed us to win by as much as we could because there aren’t too many opportunities like that in the league we play in, and in the past apparently other teams have won games by an even bigger margin (ouch). While I felt a bit uncomfortable taking that much of a lead, we did the best we could on practicing aspects of the game we needed to work on (spreading the court, cutting on offense, help defense) and didn’t think too much about the score. The win was very refreshing, especially for the girls who have been playing for a few years, and we rode the bus home with good spirits.
The other memorable moment was the very last game of the semester… when I got to experience something in a basketball game that I’ve never done before. I believe we were playing Surrey University and we had the lead the entire game (up by maybe 12 to 15 points at parts). However, the away team started making a comeback in the last quarter and made it a tight game. With about 10 seconds left, the other team made a cross-court pass to a girl going long for a layup, putting them up by 2 points. As the clock ticked down, we inbounded the ball and a few passes were made until I ended up with the ball in my hands at half court as everyone started counting “3… 2… 1” I dribbled a few times and threw the ball up towards the basket right over half court while two defenders ran at me. The ball sunk right into the hoop and the girls knocked me down on the floor. That was the last I saw for about 3 minutes as my entire team, and the boys team who were watching, piled on top of me screaming and shaking me. I was curled up in a ball on the court with my eyes closed and all these people freaking out about the shot. After a few minutes, the referees got everyone off the court because I had to shoot a foul shot (which I completely forgot about), and ended up missing because I was so shaken up (literally). I can easily say that was one of the highlights of my entire basketball career and my experience abroad. We won by a point. I felt like crying from excitement right after that. It was an incredible feeling. If I took that shot another thirty times, I don’t know if I’d make even one of them again. But the fact that the ball went in that time was just completely awesome. I really felt like a superstar for a second there.
Not only was my involvement in basketball an excellent way to work out for me, but I never realized how much of a social aspect it has in my life. I’ve been playing basketball since maybe second grade (around 7 years old) and over the years I have gained lifetime friends from the sport. I am beyond thankful to my parents for getting me involved in a sport that I could play for many years in my life, and it is truly something I enjoy doing. I know that I made the decision to not play basketball in a possible D3 college, which I definitely do not regret, but I still have my club basketball team back at UNCW, and my teammates at Roehampton for those three months. So thank you dad (he will love this shout out). You’ve pushed me throughout the years to be the best player that I could be, and you were and always will be my number one fan (and number one critic), but I love you for it.
Basketball at Roehampton has helped me gain so many more friends (from both the girls and guys teams) and it was a way to get my mind off of school and other worries and just go play on the court. I loved that I could look forward to practices throughout the week, and games on Wednesday afternoons. I could work on improving more of the fundamentals during the girls’ practices, and loved running and keeping in shape when playing with the guys (who treat me like one of them, and don’t go easy on me when I’m playing)! I had told some of the girls that we needed to have another social or get-together for some team bonding… I even suggested a “psych party” like my team did in high school where everyone brings something to contribute to a team dinner (like an appetizer, drinks, or desserts) the night before a big game. So at the very end of the season, we had a goodbye get together for me and Aina (another international student from Catalonia). Both the girls and guys teams went roller-skating at a campus social and after that we went back to the girls’ flat for pizza and games. I am so grateful for all the teammates who came to our going away party and appreciate the gifts you guys got me and Aina. I appreciate you guys more than you know. You all helped me grow not only as a basketball player, but as a person. I learned so much from you and I am so thankful to have met each and every one of you Roehampton basketball players. We had our ups and downs during the season, but I wouldn’t change anything! I’ll really miss you all. Please keep me updated on the next term and I wish you all the best of luck! Cheers!