Shamma is a 24 year old Londoner who works as a Business Support Officer at London Sport.
Being inspired by the national This Girl Can campaign, Shamma decided to dust off basketball shoes and join the rest of the girls at Love Basketball Academy’s court.
“Last week, I did something I hadn’t done in years, something I didn’t imagine I’d ever do again. I felt hot, sweaty, pushed around, but most of all exhilarated. I played Basketball for the first time since one off PE lessons at school.
Since I began working with London Sport in January, I’ve quickly caught up with the hype and momentum of the Sport England programme This Girl Can. Having been quite fit and active growing up, at first I didn’t think this programme; or these specific slogans from the campaign applied to me. I never had any problems or reservations when it came to sports, fitness and competition. However after 5 years of inactivity, the challenge of beginning a new sport made me realise that this carefree attitude towards sports and fitness was no longer part of my self-identity.
I arrived at The Regal basketball building on a dark evening with no particular pre-existing worries or expectations. Entering the room I was faced by an incredibly energetic and high paced basketball match. The girls bobbed and weaved around each other in an impressive display of athleticism. A small part of me thought, ‘this is the time to leave if ever’. I felt intimidated and out of my depth until I spotted a few other girls sitting on the side-lines. They too, like me were trying Basketball for the first time. After chatting I began to relax, and thought about the fearless messages of the campaign, realising it had inspired me, and that this girl could certainly try.
Throughout the session, the coach Jose Martin focused on engaging drills which would prove helpful in the surprise end of session match against the club members (Lambeth Wolves). With fun pop music playing and everyone giving their best effort, I was soon feeling like an amateur Michael Jordan; bounding up and down the court, hearing the screams of “defence!” and jumping into action.
My lungs hadn’t felt such sweet torture nor my legs so weak, since- well since I can remember. Post-match high fives had been dealt out between all the girls and despite missing all my shots it felt really, really good. It’s exactly a week since my first session, I’m currently preparing for the next; perhaps a long-term habit? In any case, this girl is ready.”
Love Basketball Academy is London’s biggest basketball club for women with four different venues across London. Find out more about the academy here: http://www.lovebasketball.co.uk