For Ardie Dite, the Boomers have been a part of her life for a long time and when it comes to being a member, she’s passionate and paid up ahead of what promises to be an exciting 2018/19 WNBL season.
“I grew up in Lower Templestowe in the 70s and 80s, and that part of Melbourne was – and still is – basketball mad. That meant I always had a basketball in my hands and had permanently scabbed knees from playing on the school asphalt courts,” says Ardie as she remembers back to her childhood.
Basketball fashion wasn’t too flash back in those days, but that first ‘basketball look’ is firmly etched in Ardie’s memory.
“My very first uniform for Templestowe Valley Primary was white bloomers, blue Bonds tee-shirt with a yellow number 13 hand-sewn on, white knee-high socks and Dunlop Supershot runners. We, like almost every other house in our street had a basketball backboard and ring attached to the carport.
“My childhood was spent at Sheahans Road Basketball Stadium, playing for Lower Templestowe in the EDJBA and later in weeknight competitions with friends. As I grew older, basketball came with me, as I moved houses and jobs and I played in competitions all over Melbourne.”
With the WNBL being shown on the ABC each Saturday afternoon, Ardie’s connection with the nation’s top women’s basketball league quickly grew.
“Growing up in a footy mad city, it was hard to get any coverage of sports outside of footy, especially female sports. So, the WNBL games shown on the ABC were like gold. Watching those women play each week, I got to know them and admire their skills,” Ardie explains.
“Every four years at the Olympics, when the nation would jump on the coat tails of the Opals, I’d watch them with pride, my heroes from the WNBL against the world.”
The year 2007 will be remembered as the time Ardie fully stepped into the Boomers family.
“I first started going to Bulleen Boomers games in 2007, I wanted to see these heroes of mine play live. I got mum and dad to come along because I thought they would enjoy it and with the team playing at the Veneto Club in Bulleen, it was pretty close to home for them,” says Ardie.
“From the very first game we were hooked, and although the venue was small, the crowd was committed and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We quickly became members to support the club and the team. It also was the start of a golden era for the Boomers, with four consecutive Grand Final appearances and a long-awaited championship in 2010-11.”
Not long after that run of finals basketball, the Boomers underwent some big changes and members were asked to stay strong and take their support to the next level.
“While we embraced the name and colours change to Melbourne Boomers, we weren’t sure of the move to the State Basketball Centre. The luxury of just popping around the corner for world class basketball was going to be missed.
“Thankfully, at this time my older sister had started coming to games and she’d be able to drive mum and dad there. From our very first game, I knew it was going to be ok. A professional women’s basketball team in Melbourne, needed a professional stadium to play in, and this was it.
“Since moving there, we have seen the team grow from strength to strength. The crowd numbers are getting bigger each season and the number of young girls in attendance is amazing,” Ardie continues with a buzz.
“In the years since, my other sister and her daughter have also joined as members, so we have three generations of our family going to games each week. The atmosphere at game two of last season’s Grand Final series was remarkable and spine tingling; it was one of the best sporting events I’ve ever watched.
“We can’t wait for the new season to start, we are already paid up members and we think it’s time for another championship! Go Boomers.”
Thank you for sharing your membership story Ardie and thank you for being a proud member of Melbourne’s WNBL team.
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