Rebecca Cole - The Rise of Australian Basketball
As we become interconnected, the notion of locality becomes more widespread and global than ever before. Your local store can reach international customers overnight after going viral on Instagram. Perhaps your unassuming mate from school became a comedic sensation after dropping his sunnies in the ocean, consequently turning him into a meme.
More importantly, rising amongst the ranks of international recognition are Australian sports that have traditionally taken the backseat. Making moves in the world of women’s basketball is no other than 28 year old Rebecca Cole. As the current shooting guard for South Side Flyers in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), her rise to the top was no easy feat. She sits down with us to talk about life on and off the court.
A quick introduction of yourself, team and any current events or projects you have on.
RC: My name is Rebecca Cole and I am currently in the Australian Opals Squad, Australian 3x3 Team and play for the Southside Flyers in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). One passion project that I am working on right now is being an ambassador for Lymphoma Australia and this month of September is Awareness Month, so I am doing weekly challenges as well as educating people of this common cancer. Helping raise awareness and showing my support for everyone involved in this community is something I’m honoured to be a part of.
Where did your interest in basketball start?
RC: When I was seven my friend asked me to fill in for her basketball team. I fell in love with the game straight away, I loved that you could play offence and defence and be a part of a team. Apparently, I thought the uniforms were pretty cool too!
Australian sports are rising on the international stage. What excites you the most about playing for Australia?
RC: Knowing that all your hard work of blood, sweat and tears was all worth it. The feeling when you put on that green and gold jersey is so amazing and you will always cherish that moment. Now you get to go out on that court with your sisters and give it everything you got is something you will remember forever. The butterflies, excitement and the pride you have with each game is always special and you just want to keep on doing it.
How would you say Australia’s sporting culture is different from other nations?
RC: When the Aussies are playing you can see the sisterhood and the bond that we play with. We play for each other and each person has each other’s back. The grit and determination we play with is also a stand-out. I think all Australian sports play with a ‘never say die’ attitude and we compete until the last whistle is blown.
What was the biggest obstacle, physical or mental that you have faced so far?
RC: My biggest obstacle would have to be both a physical and mental one. In sport there are always injuries and I unfortunately suffered from two ACL’s along with other issues which ended up in me having four surgeries on each knee. Overall, I probably missed about 3-4 years of playing basketball. To overcome that, make my body as strong as it ever could be and work my way back into the game was hard but I’m probably one of the most hard working and competitive people you’ve ever met so that wasn’t going to stop me. Once I was back out on court it took a couple of seasons to find your groove again, so I had to go through the mental hurdle of people not believing in me and my capabilities, I only had myself and my family. I was having to prove I still had what it takes over a 3 year period. End result was that I worked at my game and believed in myself and I came through it all. I’m now living out my dreams and if I can conquer all that, I know I can achieve anything when I put my mind to it.
Apart from your career, what is something you’re passionate about that people may not know?
RC: I’m very passionate about my family, they’re my absolute rocks and I just love them all so much! I’m also into fitness and health and feeling good within yourself!
When you’re not on the court, what is your favourite outdoor activity or sport?
RC: Growing up I used to play netball and do track and field so I always enjoy participating in that but I do love to skateboard down St Kilda in summer.
What do you like most about your Pacificos?
RC: I like to be outdoors a lot so I love that my Pacificos protect my eyes from the sun but also that they look cool with every outfit! Also, I have a pinhead so it’s great that they look good on my head! Haha.
Where is the coolest place you’ve visited with your Pacificos?
RC: The coolest place I’ve visited with my Pacificos would definitely have to be Amsterdam. I was there representing Australia at the 3x3 World Cup and whilst we were there my team and I did a lot of sight-seeing and riding around the city on bikes!
What is your current routine to stay active and positive?
RC: I find that after a workout I always feel a lot better so when I don’t have team training, I try to start my morning off with a workout. I’ve enjoyed running sessions, HIIT workouts, skipping and boxing. I’m a big people person so I make sure to spend time with my parents at home and then have facetimes with my sisters and close friends to have that positive connection. I also just think to myself about how blessed I am and to be grateful for what I have with so many things going on in today's world.
Where can people find out more about Southside Flyers and catch up with you?
RC: If you want to catch up with me, you can find what I’m all about and what I’m up to on my Instagram @rebeccajcole. If you want to know more about Southside Flyers or my Australian teams you can follow these accounts on Instagram @southside.flyers, @aus_opals, @3x3hustle, @thewnbl, @basketballaus. Or got to the Basketball Australia website and the WNBL website.