I’ve been in professional sport for nearly 20 years, and to me this is an ever morfing platform. Growing up, I knew what I wanted to do – and that was to go with whatever entered my mind. Whatever the flavour of the month, and whatever seemed to give me the most interest and joy. Whether that was to try my hand at playing the guitar with high school mates, or to pretend that I could surf with them. I never strayed far from my comfort zone. That meant that anything physical was high on my priority list. As time passed this seemed to change, and I tried to challenge myself in other areas. The constant however, was basketball. It was always there whether I was playing around with mates in the schoolyard, representative tournaments or in front of the house with my brother or sisters. It was an outlet and an enjoyment that has provided me with a blessed life. I’ve experienced a lot since I picked up a ball professionally since 2001, and during that time I have had a lot of enjoyment and sadness, triumphs and losses, and certainties and unknowns in all areas of my life. With this experience you would think I would have had time to plan for my future and have it laid out in concrete ready for my transition into the next life…
But life is unpredictable, and with that, so are our paths we choose to live our life. I have had many deja vu moments during my professional career, preparing myself for a smooth transition into the next part of my life. I began a social work degree thinking that would blend perfectly with my basketball career but that didn’t last long, as my interest and lack of dedication and support as an athlete waned. A year’s study and failed subjects quickly had me investing more into basketball and less into study.
A couple years off from university and my basketball career looking like it was on the upward trend, I decided to take another swing at up-skilling myself. I changed my educational path and directed myself towards an area I was always intrigued by, and started a Bachelor of Science, majoring in IT and minoring in Human Resource Management. Finally, this was it, my path was set. But six years on, doing part time study while trying to juggle a professional basketball career, my goal of finishing study was suddenly halted. I lost interest despite only had 1 full year’s study left. Life seemed to be on an endless loop of the same monotonous routine. I had worked so hard to balance my careers on and off the court, and it seemed it was a waste of time. Where was I going? How was I going to achieve this? Questions that constantly plagued me.
I’d witnessed it throughout my journey, I was a walking talking example of what I was slowly witnessing in the media – the stories that started peppering more frequently were highlighting the mental breakdown of athletes, the pressures of sport and the expectations that come with it. More and more, the mental anxiety and anguish that professional sportsmen and women were experiencing was no longer being viewed as taboo. This was and still continues today, and I couldn’t escape it. Talking about it and the tragic events that ensued, was a real factor, and finally the havoc that families were experiencing (with the depression, the anxiety, the suicides) was laid out bare for all to see. I had gone through the unknown and the anxiety of it, and like those before me, found that not talking about my mental weakness was a sign of weakness. The lost aimless feeling that we all have after a hard night, now just lingered longer, and without the help of alcohol. There was no out, no reason to carry on. Drinking and other forms of escape was an easy way out. My studies struggled, I had no direction, and it showed in my basketball career.
Surely there would be a solution, but there was none. Nothing that offered a service for mental health, wellbeing, health, career planning, and a family service, with some form of financial education support system. That is why morf. was created.
A set of specific coaches that I feel are the most important to help guide and educate each individual to create a better future for themselves. A place to heal and feel like there is help in every corner you turn. I didn’t like that as an athlete. I didn’t like the unknown and the direction in which I couldn’t see myself in. This is why morf. was created. I have had enough of excuses and hearing that “it’s so sad we didn’t see that” or “I wish we could’ve been there to help” or “I can’t believe she didn’t plan for that”. I don’t want there to be any more excuses – I want to start the conversation and to have a solution.
morf. is not the answer – but it is the all-inclusive programme that needs to be created to help athletes find and invest themselves holistically. morf. is here to empower athletes to make educated decisions based on who they are as people, rather than decisions that seem ‘right’ because of somebody else’s view. This is a platform to help athletes realise their mistakes and to help them work through them. It’s a platform to athletes feel safe, so their darkest and biggest fear is met head-on and confronted. morf. allows life to be enjoyed, because just like the hard work that is done on the field, court, arena or gymnasium, the same time and energy should also be invested in who we are as people – creating our own image into the best version of ourselves.
morf. is a one stop transitional programme to help alleviate the pressures of the professional environment and to fundamentally assist athletes with their transition into life after sport – morf. is a service for life.