They are enthusiastic kind of girls.
hey love basketball. They really want to go somewhere with it. It’s a great sport to play. I love
everything about basketball (actually) and getting out here and knowing you
are having fun with the girls and everyone you like. I like the Ravens. It’s really nice
and I really enjoy it. I just want to have a go and enjoy myself. We are all
people from different backgrounds and want to join in and have fun. I started when I was in Egypt. I used
to play with the big girls and big boys. This team started off with another
association. They found it a bit hard to continue playing with that
association because they weren’t getting the attention and support
they needed. Of course getting girls involved in sport means that you’ll
have to get their families involved as well and that wasn’t happening that
much. A lot of girls started to pull out and but I knew that they wanted
to keep playing so I did a lot of running around and spoke to their
parents and got the girls back together again and registered. 1I actually started playing basketball
because I enjoyed it. I did it with my friends and stuff at school. Basically if I’m walking out and I see
a group of young women that I think might want to get involved, or that
I would like to invite to play a certain sport, I approach them and tell them
who I am and where I work and what we try to do. We encourage them to come
and join in with any activities that we’ve got or if they have activities
that they want to do that are not being run – let us know and we’ll try and run
it for them. When I came first in Australia, in
language school Noble Park, that (basketball) was the (most popular)
sport that people played there. So I got involved in it and I love it. I
asked my mum if she can enroll me in (the) basketball stadium – Rangers
Basketball – and she was like ‘Yeh’. We just heard (about it) from the
community. They were saying that there is a basketball team that is
going on so maybe you can join and have some fun. So I think it was a
good opportunity. Instead of sitting at home I think it’s much better to
go off and have some fun you know. Enjoy your life. Just the fact it’s a great opportunity
for them (the girls) to meet up with other young people. The benefits of
sport in terms of health, having fun and also being part of the community –
having some fun socially. I learn more English than before and
(my mother) thinks that I could be more responsible if I could go out at
night and come home safe.It will show that I am responsible and she can
trust me. There’s a lot of stuff going on.
There’s violence and misunderstanding between kids you know. Kids don’t
listen to their parents so I think with basketball you can forget about
all that stuff and any bad stuff that has happened to your family. Just
continue playing and you forget and have good habits to. I just like the fact that I’m not in
it by myself, you know. There are a lot of us working together as a team.
We help each other out all the time. That’s friendship you know, that’s
good. If you like it, just come. It’s a
lot of fun. You meet a lot of people and make new friends and different
cultures. With the basketball I guess it’s
opened up the doors to try a whole lot of other sports. Some of these
girls have taken part in soccer, netball, dance and each time something
comes up they are not afraid to have a go because they have already put
their foot in the door and tried other things. It’s a great opportunity for
them to meet up with other young people, share their stories and
encourage them to be in the position that they are in now where they are
having a go and having lots of fun. I guess it’s good for them to know
what it’s like to be in an environment where you have to work together as a
group, work as a team and try to achieve as much as you can. There are a lot of girls out there
whose culture and background stops them from coming out and playing
basketball. Their parents might feel that it’s not right for them
to be away from home. There are a lot of girls out there
whose culture and background stops them from coming out and playing
basketball. Their parents might feel that it’s not right for them
to be away from home. My parents are not that supportive.
It’s actually different backgrounds so it’s hard for her (my mother)
to find the rules in here. Sometimes basketball games start late and I
get home late so she feels it’s unsafe for me. Parental involvement is very important.
Our families need to be part of everything we do. The parents need
to know where the girls are, what they are doing and things like that
so it’s very important to get the parents involved because without
them giving us the permission the girls would not be able to come. They really didn’t agree with the
decision of me going out at night and playing basketball. They wanted
me to stay home and help out but somehow they managed to let me go
because they spoke to Claudia and understood what was going on. It was things like the girls being
outside of the home several nights of the week. Of course they have to
train and play on game nights so being out of the home and not
spending much time on studies and too much time playing (was a problem).
They were also worried about being in the South East. Sometimes there’s
some negative stories that come out in the media so parents are a bit
cautious about letting their girls go out at night. Just to get them to understand there’s
more to it than just letting us go outside and play basketball. They
(parents) want all the information that they can get. They want to see
if we are doing what we say we are doing because some people don’t say
what they really do. Speak to people in organisations
that work with young people from different cultural backgrounds.
They’ll have links and networks that get you touch with families
and people that you might want to get involved. Get in touch with
those local agencies and they will help you get to the groups you
need to get to. Be polite and approach them in an
easy way. The advice I would give them
(coaches) is to try and understand the girl and her family. Not only
approach the girl but also her family. Sometimes the girls are controlled by
their parents, you know ‘you can’t be out this late without coming home
without us knowing’ and all this stuff, so they just have to try and be patient
with the girls and try to help them out in any way they can. The girls are easy going. They are
good at listening – they are easy to coach My ambitions (is) like, I would love
to play for Australia. Sometimes when I see the girls play on TV I
say ‘mum I want to go to play there’ and see says ‘yeh you could do it
if you want to do it’. Maybe I can have a go a little bit
and try it on. Maybe one day I can get into a big team. I only do it because it’s really good
for my health and I just enjoy it. I don’t aim to go to NBA or NBL.
I just do it because I just love to play the sport. Yesterday we had training and my
mum wasn’t at home to drop my there. It was like a 30 minute run. By the
time I got there I was so tired but it’s what I love doing so I’m not
going to let nothing stop me from doing that.

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Dennis Veasley

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