Meet Debbie, a sea swimmer with multiple health conditions.
Patricya is a student just about to start university. Growing up, she always felt she stood out in sports being a tall tomboy. After finding Basketball she learnt to love herself and the sport now brings her more joy than anything else.
Growing up I was always sporty. Sitting and doing arts and crafts didn’t interest me at all. I was the tallest girl in my class and quite literally the biggest target when it came to jokes and torment. I played netball and rounders at school, and I was always running around.
Playing netball, I felt like I stood out and I didn’t feel very accepted. I would be put against a short girl, and they’d say it wasn’t fair and ask why I was so tall. On the team, I was always put as goal shooter or goal keeper as they wanted me to use my height to protect the net. Even though I played better as goal attack. I wanted to strive to be able to go to a team that respected me and put me in a positive light.
I always watched basketball when I was younger. I’d watch street basketball being played in my area as well as programmes about the sport on TV. Watching the sport, I realised being different wasn’t something to apologise for.
It’s not about the competition for me, I play for connections. It’s about being yourself in a safe environment and just playing. Basketball is a sport for everyone. As a person of colour I find you’re expected to play the sport. I think the media portray it as a sport for people of colour.
I was attracted to basketball because I saw so many different people playing. There were only two people of colour on my team. I had time to learn how to be good, I wasn’t expected to be the best right away.
When I was in year 11 I had to temporarily give up basketball to focus on my GCSE’s. At the time I was playing both badminton and basketball and they were my escape. Playing both helped me de-stress. Even my family noticed the difference when I stopped playing. I was on edge all the time as the pressure built. I didn’t have a concrete way to release it. No way to relax and get a bit of serotonin in my veins.
Basketball is something I couldn’t do without now. It’s my pride and joy. I really enjoy playing and meeting new people. Basketball brings me the happiness that no other sport ever has. It’s a challenge and you are always learning and trying to better yourself.