Michael Zhang: Ball is Life

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“7 days without shooting hoops makes one weak.” Michael Zhang, 19.

Throughout high school Michael would live and breath basketball, playing it any moment he could. “I remember school would finish at 2:30 on Thursdays, and me and few mates would just hang around until maybe 4:00-4:30 just shooting hoops, playing 2v2 and stuff like that.”

He always felt basketball as a sort of tool to help himself meet new people and fit in. “I remember moving to my third high school in 2012 and bringing a basketball to school with me. A few guys asked if they could play and it turned into a full court game with a mix of students from year 10,11 & 12.”

From there he had created a bond with a group of guys, and allowed him to fit in easier at school. After a year playing on the courts at lunchtime and recess, he began representing the school along with his new found friends in the basketball team. “Me and my mate Yanni got a few of the boys together and tried out for the senior boys basketball team.”

“Did you make it?” I asked.

He laughed. “Nah, most of the boys were almost double my size, I thought I played well though, but the teacher opted for someone else.”

But that didn’t stop Michael from representing the school and decided to use Thursday afternoon sport as a way to prove himself to the coaches of the school who had turned him down. “Yeah, Thursday arvos were pretty good because it was the boys playing competitively against other schools. It really challenged us but also help us improve our game and status as players of the school.”

“So how did you go?”

“Oh yeah, we smashed it, came first and beat the reigning champions with ease.”

With a solid performance representing the school in afternoon sport, Michael gathered up those who he played with and formed a team in the night games in Sutherland. “Yeah, the boys and I had decided to join up the Sutherland comp. It was heaps fun, but in the end didn’t really work out for us and eventually didn’t make the finals.”

His experience began to grow and was eventually called up to what he called the ‘Big League’. “Yeah, the big league i call it.” He laughed. “After most of the guys left for Uni and what not, I tried out for the senior boys basketball team and got in straight away. I was pretty stoked that I finally made in.”

For Michael, basketball has been a passion that he developed in his early teens. Now studying a degree in engineering at the University of Wollongong, he uses it at as an activity to get away from the copious amounts of Uni work. “Its a great way to get away from all the studying and assignments. Its a place where I can just relax and have fun.”

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