On the surface, Bobola Olayinka is as humble and sweet a person you can come across. But make no mistake, this 5'11 post player is a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court. This grade 12 student athlete is going into the 2011-2012 senior girls basketball season at Bishop O’Byrne High School in Calgary determined to succeed. In preparation, Olayinka has been playing for the Calgary Storm basketball club in the spring and fall, meaning she is ready to once again bring her height, and all-around skill set to the court. Youthink caught up with Olayinka to talk about how she used to actually hate basketball and what she now loves about it the most.
YT: How did basketball become your sport?
BO: My current club basketball coach first introduced me to basketball in the eighth grade. Believe it or not, I used to absolutely hate basketball! I first started out with soccer, but my dad took my height into consideration (I’ve always been tall for my age) and decided to encourage me to switch sports. This was how I met my current club basketball coach, who has been training and developing my skills ever since.
YT: What have you gained from playing basketball?
BO: As cheesy as this may sound, basketball can teach you a lot about life. It really develops your leadership qualities, decision-making under high-pressure situations and it’s a great way to meet new people from all spectrums. I love the fact that it is a team sport. This way you can develop long-lasting relationships and learn to trust people on and off the court.
YT: What are some of your most memorable accomplishments in your basketball career?
BO: In grades 10 and 11, I was selected for Athlete of the Week as a result of my contributions to the school basketball team. I have also received numerous MVP and all-star awards throughout my basketball career.
YT: What’s your most embarrassing moment
in a game?
BO: Once in a school game, I was hit hard on the head. I guess I didn’t come to fast enough because the next time I got the ball, I scored on my school’s hoop, giving the other team a point.
YT: What challenges have you faced as an athlete?
BO: A couple of years ago, I experienced what some would call a “lapse.” I had just been moved up to a higher team and I felt completely out of my comfort zone. This of course caused my confidence level to decrease rapidly. That year was the worst year of basketball for me as I continuously struggled with my confidence. However, I took comfort in the fact that a lot of basketball players go through this phase and come out perfectly fine, just as I did.
YT: What are your plans after high school? What are your career goals?
BO: I would very much like to play basketball in university, however education comes first. I would love to graduate law school and become a corporate lawyer.
YT: What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice would you give to young athletes?
BO: I have been continuously told to never – under any circumstances – give up. Always persevere. Determination and hard work can get a person anywhere they want to go. Lastly, don’t dwell on past mistakes – move on and enjoy the game!
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