This Girl Can: Jackie’s Story to falling in love with Basketball


My name is Jackie and I have the great privilege of writing a guest blog post for Melissa about my favourite sport – BASKETBALL!

I thought that it was such a shock that Melissa asked me because she wants ‘Women in Sport’, I thought she had a made a mistake! I was NEVER one of the sporty girls at school, frequently being on the ‘D’, ‘E’ or even ‘F’ team at school, preferring volunteering to games lessons and even winning a wooden spoon for being the worst at badminton! 

Jackie’s women basketball team at university.

However, when I got to university, I thought that nobody knows how rubbish I am at sport, basketball is something I have always wanted to try and it was only about two minutes away from my halls. They advertised it as something anybody of any ability can try’, no need to try out and best of all? It was free. So I thought, why not have a go? 

Much to my delight, basketball was very fun and easy to grasp; the other women were also extremely kind, supportive and welcoming and it was great for both my mental and physical health. Not only was I exercising regularly and becoming fitter, but it also gave me an opportunity to make new friends across subjects and years. It even managed to get me out of my room – something that I always tried to avoid doing at university. 

This Girl Can Social Basketball – Leazes Park

Three years later I moved back to Newcastle and I am now raring to join another club – a big city with two universities and a great city team – how hard could it be?

However, I couldn’t find any that were suitable – either you had to try out (be a certain ability to make the team), or they were too expensive, at the wrong times, exclusive to certain age groups, difficult to get to, just a series of irritating barriers that prevented me from playing.

I knew some people in Newcastle who played basketball and I would sometimes meet up with them to play at a local park but our busy lives often mean these opportunities are few and far between.

When playing on my own at a local court I thought that there might be women around Newcastle who might feel the same as me; who wanted to try a new sport but couldn’t due to some obstacle or that they used to play but couldn’t find an opportunity to do so.

This Girl Can Social Basketball – Leazes Park

I was nominated as a This Girl Can Ambassador through some volunteering for Streetgames and Factory Dance Academy. I had just taken part TGC activities previously, but I thought –why not do something about this?

With the TGC Play Basketball Club I hope to create a fun and social atmosphere where girls and women of any age and ability can come and make new friends, and learn something new or even share tips with each other. It’s free, with no gear or experience needed and easily accessible in the middle of Newcastle City Centre. 

I know that basketball isn’t for everyone but I really recommend you do some sport or exercise, even just 30 minutes a week or walking/cycling/running/jogging/table tennis or football. There are some wonderful local parks with great facilities you can use for free. Bring a friend, get some fresh air, take in the view, get the heart pumping a bit – it’s good for you mentally and physically.

This Girl Can Social Basketball – Leazes Park

Hope this has interested you and if you want to play some basketball – male or female – let me know. Hope to see you at Leazes Park Basketball Court soon!

This Girl Can Play Basketball Club meets every Saturday from 3-4pm at Leazes Park Basketball Court. Just wear some comfortable clothes, bring some water and get ready to have some fun! For more information please join the This Girl Can Play BASKETBALL group on Facebook (here). 

If your interested in trying out basketball, Don’t be afraid to join the Facebook page or if you fancy trying out something different why not check out the Active Newcastle Facebook page to see what other This Girl Can activities are happening in Newcastle. If you would like to see other women’s only activities happening across Newcastle you can check out Active Newcastle’s Website for tones of other activities happening in Newcastle.  

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