The Victorian Championship Competition is based on the fundamental principle of mirroring mainstream basketball. But it varies significantly in its importance to the players. In some cases it is not only the highlight of the week but the only social activity the players get to enjoy. It is a community all by itself. The volunteers who support the competition have often been heard to say “It’s the best way to finish off a week”. Everyone seems to be happy to be at Friday night basketball.
It is a place where players can come and feel like any other sportsperson”. It is, in the main, a place in life where people of any age, and any ability, can feel like they are a winner and where others can see them achieve and be recognised as being good at something. For many people in this community our basketball competition provides what others consider a normal, expected part of life.
But it is more than a unique and very good basketball program. More than half our players were introduced to the competition via a special schools team. Why does a school involve itself in a Friday evening activity using up its precious resources? The motivation it provides for players to improve in areas outside of playing basketball is amazing! A player who has had difficulty with figures soon improves because of the method of scoring. The games are played at various times so they learn to read the time. Someone who has a fear or difficulty with travel on public transport soon learns to overcome this hurdle. It improves social skills and provides them with a code of acceptable behaviour. It provides club members with friendships as well as their own community. It provides players with a group of their own peers. It gives them extra purpose.
However, it is the less-noticed achievements that we are most proud of. Being there to facilitate and witness a player’s joy at scoring their first goal in front of teary-eyed family members. Watching the confidence of individual players increase, step by small step, over many years. Having a player gather enough courage and self esteem such that they feel confident enough to say their first words to you after having known them for over 5 years! Seeing a player’s amazement when they realise that they really can catch the ball unassisted. Being there to witness the pride a player has when they get picked into the Victorian team. These are by far our most important achievements.