Photos courtesy of Michelle Couling Photography
I’m a very hard working, dedicated and motivated athlete, but you will always see me smiling and laughing. I made state teams when I was a junior and then went on to the AIS as a scholarship holder and captain. I was honoured to receive the award for Australian Youth Woman of the year in Basketball. For my senior career I signed with the Bulleen Boomers, which are now the Melbourne Boomers. I made my first Opals Squad almost two years ago now, before I injured my knee, and I’m aiming to get back into the squad again.
It is so important to raise the profile of women in sport, so young children have role models to look up to. They need to know that there is a pathway for them to follow. Role models can teach women so much about themselves. Whether they chose a career in pro sport, or not, they shape who you aspire to be; your morals and ethical fibre.
When I was younger, I was really in to athletics and Cathy Freeman was my idol. Her talent goes without saying, but the way she carried herself on and off the field was a real standout; dedicated, classy and she is just an amazing person. I remember so clearly all the hype around the 2000 Olympics and her achievements helped to shape, drive and accelerate my ambitions as an athlete.
As I began to learn more about basketball the likes of Michelle Timms really had an impact on me pursuing my dream. She is strong, independent and one of the best athletes Australia has even seen, which was recently recognised by her recent Hall of Fame induction. I still have a T-Shirt signed by her from when I was 7!! To this day, she still does so much for our sport and will always be respected as one of our greats, as the next generation comes through the ranks.
We also need to recognise that it’s not just the women that play a role in advocating for our younger generation of girls, the blokes play a role in supporting our women too. Chris Anstey for example, is such an advocate for women in sport. He is someone who helps us raise our profile which I guess is further driven by his love and support of his daughter.
People need to come and watch us to understand how exciting our games are and to uncover the worthy role models that are out there. They need to see the outcome of all the hard work that we put in behind the scenes and realise the strength, power, pace, IQ and EQ that we compete with. We sacrifice so much to perform on the big stage and with all the challenges we face, our achievements speak for themselves.
My ideal future for women in sport is where we get paid enough to be able to play and train all year round, as our full time profession. I would love to see every women’s pro sport in the media and being televised. I want to see equal opportunity and I’ll do whatever it takes to pave the way.
Rebecca Cole is an Australian professional basketball player for the Melbourne Boomers in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). She is 178cm and plays Point Guard. Rebecca was captain of her AISteam, captain of her Australian Gems World Championship Team and was awarded Australian Youth Female Player of the Year in 2011. After putting on the green and gold uniform at her first Opals camp in 2015, shortly after Rebecca suffered a tear of the ACL, which has seen her in recovery for the last 10 months. In April 2016 she had her first game back from injury with the Nunawading Spectres in SEABL (South East Australian Basketball League) competition.
Follow Rebecca Cole on Instagram @rebeccajcole