We caught up with Penny Bairstow, mother of one of Queensland’s most prominent basketball families to find out how she and her family got into basketball! We took this opportunity to chat to Penny about her proudest moments as a basketball Mum, and what she recommends for families wanting to get their kids into the sport.
How did you first get into basketball and why?
I started playing basketball when I came down from the country to go to university. I loved the fact that I could run everywhere on the basketball court. Ian played a lot when he was at school in Perth and when our family came along we were both keen to introduce them to basketball.
How did you get your kids involved with basketball?
As youngsters the children played a variety of sports and basketball was just one of these. However, as the children got older, basketball became the favourite. It was Michael Jordan era too! Holidays were spent with one on one competitions in the backyard. Ian and I became more involved in coaching and helping out in general, especially after the South West Metro Pirates was established. Our family, like many others, became a committed basketball family.
What are some of your family’s most memorable basketball highlights?
The most memorable events are the children’s Classics (State Championships) and nationals that we travelled to and played at all over the state and country. The road trips, the family get-togethers, the friendship shared with families from all over the state are treasured memories. The close wins and losses, especially those for a state or national championship title, are never forgotten.
Travelling to the USA to see Cam, Jarred and Steph play college basketball is also right up there. Seeing Cam play Cincinnati in the Pitt at the University of New Mexico is a highlight. The Lobos won a very tight game against a very athletic team. The atmosphere was electric with seventeen thousand cheering patriotic Lobo fans.
What are your proudest moments as a basketball Mum?
Mothers are always proud of their children’s achievements from the smallest to the biggest, the first layup in a game of biddy ball, to selection in a state or national team to making a Bullets DP role.
Ian and I are so fortunate to have watched seven healthy children enjoy this great game.
Watching Cam play in the Olympics at Rio was a very proud moment and one we never imagined we would ever experience when the children were younger. The highlight was Cam’s game against team USA… We got so close! Steph winning a Bronze medal at the World Under 18 3×3 Championship in Spain was special too!
As a parent I have learnt to cherish every moment my children play. For players this game is filled with many ups and downs and each of my children have had their share. My greatest pride is really how well each of them have dealt with this.
What are some of the most important life lessons basketball teaches kids?
This is a tough question as many papers have been written on this and I don’t know where to start. Hence, I wanted to use Dr Google. Then I remembered something an insightful parent once told me, “it teaches them (young players) to deal with tough situations without harming themselves”. This game captivates young people and hence enables these lessons to be taught.
What would you recommend to families wanting to get their kids into basketball?
My children have made lifelong friends through this great game. My eldest son, Kieran, is now 33 years old and he has celebrated many birthdays, engagements, weddings and births with his basketball friends made well over 20 years ago. I recommend getting involved with the family’s local basketball community or basketball within the local school community. Community is the key to enjoyment of basketball.
We love celebrating and acknowledging people’s commitment and passion for basketball, so if you’d like to feature in our Basketball Families series or would like to nominate someone, please send us an email at [email protected]