BY ROWAN MATHER | TABLA Camper
Every girl should have the opportunity to go to Team Awesome Basketball Leadership Academy (TABLA). TABLA is the only camp I have been to where I have learned more than just basketball skills. I learned what my platform is and how to use it, what kind of leader I am, and so many more things.
I also had amazing experiences like raising money at a Storm game and playing on the KeyArena court. Playing on the KeyArena court is magical. Before you play on it, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But when you get on the court, it is really amazing to look up at all of the seats and lights and realize how much pressure the professional athletes are under during a game.
I had a really amazing moment on that court that I’ll never forget. I had a really difficult high school season. I didn’t feel supported by my team or coaches, to add on to 3 consecutive concussions in 6 months, 2 sprained fingers, a sprained foot, and a sprained knee. Ever since my concussions, I had barely played and when I did, I was really scared that I was going to get hurt again. All week at TABLA, I had been trying to not get the ball during games to avoid contact, which meant that I hadn’t been shooting much. On KeyArena day, we did a few 5-on-5 games. It was the second half of my team’s second game and everyone on the team had scored except for me, but I didn’t think that anyone noticed. We were all huddled up and one of the Junior Counselors said, “Let’s try to get the ball to Rowan so she can get a shot!” It felt really good to know that my coaches were looking out for me and the rest of the team. The second half started and within 30 seconds, I got the ball on the elbow and made my jumper! The bench jumped up and cheered and the other players on the court gave me a ton of high-fives.
It felt amazing to finally be supported by my teammates. That one shot redeemed my confidence that I hadn’t had for months. Without TABLA, I would’ve been scared to play for a long time. By playing basketball and other team-building games, I got closer with my TABLA teammates and felt supported by them. I had never been to a basketball camp where I felt that sense of community and support until I went to TABLA. This was my second year at TABLA, and I felt like I grew even more this year than I did last year and I think that every basketball player needs something like TABLA to bring them to the next level.