20 March 2018: Australian Opals star and University of Canberra Capitals player Kelsey Griffin has taken time out of her busy schedule to play ball with Canberra mothers as part of a local ‘Mums Who Ball’ program.
The 30-year-old visited the Basketball ACT program this morning, taking to the court in a friendly game as she continues preparations to join the Australian Opals for next month’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
“It’s a great program,” she said. “I think it’s amazing some of the women who are choosing to be mums and play basketball, whether it’s at this level or even at a higher level, what’s great about it, is they are able to shift their priorities a bit but they still enjoy playing the game.”
Basketball ACT Chief Executive Officer Michael Haynes said the program was an opportunity for mums to socialise, learn some basketball skills and make new friends.
“One of the strengths of the program is they come when they can. They are not committing to 20-week seasons, so if they have an appointment or something on and they can’t make it, it’s ok, they are not letting anyone down,” Mr Haynes said.
“Having said that, we’ve got a pretty committed group of five to 10 ladies that are always here, sometimes we have 15 or 20.”
Alongside the mum’s program, Basketball ACT runs ‘baby ballers’ where children under five can have fun while mum (or grandma) plays next door.
“We’ve got ladies here who are ex-premier league players, they’ve played at a very high level, we’ve got others that have never played before, they might be netballers, they might just be looking for a bit of fitness. The focus is definitely on fun, but even in the match ups, if there’s two ladies that both used to play, that competitive tendency does certainly come out at times,” Mr Haynes said.
Ms Griffin will leave Canberra next week to join the Opals camp ahead of the Games which begin on April 4.
“I’m really excited and I think I’m still a bit shocked that I get this amazing opportunity to represent this country that I love so much on home soil,” the American-born player who became an Australian citizen in Nov 2015 said.
“I still have a lot of desire left to play the game, and I’m really excited to get back out there and to be playing again.”
Ms Griffin said she is determined to do whatever it takes to get the team across the line with Australia set to meet Canada, England and Mozambique in the Pool A preliminary rounds in Townsville.
“I might not be as experienced in the national team capacity as some of the girls that are playing but I’ve played a lot of basketball in my career, so I’m hoping to give some great leadership, both by example and vocal leadership if I can, but also to just enjoy the process,” she said.
“I really want to enjoy this time representing a country I love but also with some great people along the way.”
Following the Commonwealth Games, Ms Griffin will head to America for a training camp with WNBA club Connecticut Sun. She returns to Australia in September to start pre-season with the UC Capitals.
To find out more about the Mums Who Ball program or to register visit the Basketball ACT website.