R U OK? Day with Abby Cubillo

Last week on Friday the 15th of September, the SEDA St Clair basketball class were lucky enough to hear from the extremely talented Abby Cubillo from the Adelaide Lightning. Abby has been a professional basketballer for over eight years and is one of the best point guards in the league. Due to a recent injury to her ACL, she has been out of play for the last four months and has quite the journey a head of her. From this, us students got the opportunity to hear her story and understand how she gets through tough times in life.

At the beginning of the day, everyone arrived at school in casual clothes, ensuring that there was some sort of yellow worn within their outfit. This was organised to represent the theme of ‘R U OKAY? DAY’. All students were then asked to write on a sticky note about one or more things that they are grateful for and made a circle facing one another. Slowly, everyone read out what they had written down and placed their sticky note in a jar. This was a great way to start the morning and put everyone in good spirits.

After this and some study time, Abby Cubillo was then welcomed into the classroom after arriving from practice. Everyone was set up in a large circle were Emma and Abby were sat at the front facing everybody and the conversation began with around Abby’s achievements throughout her basketball career. Beginning by moving to a boarding school in Sydney at 15, Abby was invited to the AIS in Canberra to be part of the U16 and U17 Australian teams. In U17, Cubillo was lucky enough to win herself and her team a gold medal in the world championships played overseas. Abby explains this to be one of her biggest successes and still thinks about it till this day. From this, she then went on the play WNBL level for the Brisbane Capitals, moving a few years later to the Adelaide Lightning where she continues to strive in the present.

Continuing, from these amazing experiences and the hard work she has put in over the years, there hasn’t been much opportunity for Abby to relax and find other things in life she really enjoys. Basketball has been her life for so long that it can sometimes become to much and has affected her mental health in many different ways. Cubillo explains that even though basketball is her life, and she loves it dearly, she wishes she had more gaps in the week to rest. She often felt like she didn’t want to train and would rather stay in bed then be productive. This is something lots of people go through and is a side of sport that is not talked about enough. Abby also explained that during her time away from home, her mental health struggled. Due to her close relationship with her large family, moving far away was a big change and took a long time to get used to. As time went on, she got better at the long distance between her and her family but agrees that these struggles are not talked about enough when it comes to the sporting world.

Overall, Abby describes her journey as something she would never change. In saying this, she wishes she had more support when away from family and didn’t have to deal with so much on her own. As the theme of this R U, OKAY? Day being ‘I’m here, to hear’, Cubillo wishes that she had more people around her during these times.

To conclude, this R U OKAY? DAY was a great success across all SEDA classes and lots of people joined in with the themed colour of the day. Us St Clair Basketball students were very thankful for everything planned on the day and thank Abby Cubillo for her time to talk to us about mental health and that it is okay to not be okay.

Written By Bella Schaftenaar