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Running Renegades, a story from the US

By on February 28, 2009 in FanZone

The title is exactly what the whole team is centered around: RUNNING. Whether is making a liner in 33second, a down an back in 12 after every water break or doing the Mc Donalds (20min.) or 7 eleven (15 min.) runs, the renegades run. Now the later would be ok if it weren’t for the simple fact that Ohlone College is built on a really big hill.

I must admit though that sophomore year has been a lot easier then freshman year. I think this is best attributed to the fact that my body and mind were more conditioned for the work that lay ahead. I remember plenty of people trying to warn me about the horrors of preseason (mostly Emma, Nthato & Sherri), but I still wasn’t prepared. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much demanded of me physically and mentally. Everyday I had to tell myself that I was making myself better, not just for me but also for my team. The speed of American Basketball even at the junior college level is significantly faster than that of basketball in South Africa and thus requires the girls to be really well conditioned. Put it this way, at 6am on the day boot camp started coach said “you cannot truly support each other until you have suffered together’. In freshman year there was a period where for two weeks coach told us that we didn’t deserve to be in the gym. We were outside on the hill running day in and day out, some days with medicine balls. I think that it really helped though because when we were allowed to touch a ball again 3days before our first game we were really hungry for it and went out and blew out the first team we played.

You have to learn to love your teammates, and if not that just tolerate them because you are going to see them, everyday. Practice is about 3hours a day 6days a week (We get Sundays off) and then there is school and all that time you spent on the road traveling, not just to games and tournament but on team bonding things like camping. This year the team is a lot closer and gets along really well, part of this is because the 5 of us who were together last year were really close from always battling our sophomores together. Every girl on my team has a really special story. I have to say though that the one that stands out most is Ashley. She sat out all off senior year (matric) because she has thyroid cancer and was in remission. She’ll tell you how basketball saved her life when she was only 9 years old and 1st started battling cancer. Everyday when I see squeak (her nickname because her voice squeaks from having had surgery) I feel as if I have no right to not push myself to the max. She is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, she has such a deep knowledge of the game and you know Squeak always has your back.

Me and the coaches

Our coaching staff is pretty amazing; we have a head coach, 2 main assistants and 3 others that are ex players of the program and help out. They work on you as a player and help you develop your basketball IQ. Teaching you how to read a situation in a game and make good decisions, working with your strengths. We have coaches to work with the posts and coaches to work with guards, in the off season you get matched with a coach so that you can have one on ones and they can work on what you need developed most as a player. I’ve also had the chance to learn from going to watch some pretty awesome games, the most memorable being when Stanford beat Tennessee in the 07/08 season and watching the Monarchs play Minnesota at my 1st WNBA game this year. See the game at such competitive levels reminds me why I play and love this sport so much.

When the 08-09 team got together to play in the summer there were instant fireworks, we all knew that this team had the potential to do amazing things. In the beginning however it just seemed that nothing was working in our favour, right at the end of the summer our captain Casceal(CC) Broke her foot, Genayana our other captain and one of the most captivating players you’ll ever see tore her ACL( she had surgery and was out all season), then Christina had one of her heart things (she has a condition where she gets a spasm in a muscle that is too close to her heart so it squeezes her heart.) It’s a little scary to watch. But anyway it just seemed as if we were at the hospital every week. There was a time where out of the 15 or 16 players we had at the time only 8 could practice. Then came the beginning of season, we went to Utah and lost 3 straight games(badly), got home and lost 2 more to teams we should have beat and before we knew it the team who had looked so good was suddenly 0-5. Season continued to be a rollercoaster ride and we hit conference with a record of 6-10. Then suddenly there were the Renegades everyone knew and loved. We made history and have become the 1st Lady Renegade team to go 12-0 (undefeated) in conference. We are now anxiously looking to make more history and be the 1st team to make it past the 1st round of play offs.

I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world, I’ve learnt so much about basketball, I am definitely a smarter player and I’ve also grown so much as a person, I’ve learnt about work ethic and about mental toughness. Leaving the OC at the end of the year is going to be difficult because these girls really have become my sisters. From suffering together we have learnt to love and support each other. As my girl Bradleigh would say “We Ride or Die.”

Article by Nompumelelo Ramatsoga

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There Are 5 Brilliant Comments

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  1. baller says:

    the article is very much appreciated. it is good to know that players playing in the states keep in touch with our local basketball. for interest sake, does someone know how many players we have playing internationally. we need to have the database as a country.

    i hope those that read the article will not complain to their coaches when they run them at training. most of us players always complain about running. coaches, keep running your players and improving their individual skills and players work 10x harder.

  2. nicholus says:

    Holla bafowethu,I think that what ever is happening in all our districs is all our misdirected ,players need to given a chance to play not do admin and admin people do what they do best.However I am in support of the idea that we need to get those skills to help do admin.

    Gud luck to all who are doing their best for the sport of ‘ball.

  3. kim says:

    Thats a great story and very inspiring.I believe we all have dreams and its storys like these that keeps that flame going.Baller,yes they run but they get taught the game and not depend mainly on their running.Thats what I think the difference is.When we get to teach the gals and make them watch games then we can only get better

    Thanx for the story

  4. Naismith says:

    I think this articles main focus is not just how much hard work and will it takes to be an athlete. But in order to truly succeed in this team sport of basketball you have to be willing to suffer for the girl next to you even if you feel you can no longer go on. This game is one of passion, desire and heart. Without these things it will be hard to play this game and be successful. Congrats lady renegades, it seems as if you represent what it truly means to be a team.

  5. Neo says:

    One man said ” there is no short cut to SUCCESS YOU HAVE TO RUN” in his accent of course. Simon Badibanga