Faces of Southland Basketball
The Southland Basketball Association wishes to show appreciation to the people who have shaped our association into what it is today and illustrate what they have done for our basketball community. We also want to recognise those that are role models for young athletes coming through the basketball ranks. We aspire to create a community that recognises the unsung heroes of Southland Basketball through a series of written articles called “The Faces of Southland Basketball”.
Within our community we have people that have been involved for 40 plus years, players who have gone through the ranks starting at U11s, amazing volunteers and everyone in between who has made a difference to our association and community.
Each week we will be releasing a short-written interview on our website with links also found on Facebook and Instagram. These articles will tell you their story, their involvement, why basketball has been their passion, what the community means to them and especially what they mean to us!
There’s no better way to start the “Faces of Southland Basketball” series then with one of our longest servicing voluntary life members, Muriel Wells, better known to most as Mert. With 43 years of stories and voluntary experience under belt Mert was top of our list.
Starting as a helper on the score bench at a FIBA Commonwealth Basketball Tournament in the mid-80s, then putting her hand up to also do the bench for the Southland Sharks since their induction into the league in 2010 up till 2020 when Covid shut the league down. Mert says “I enjoyed being on the Sharks bench as it was easy to be involved”.
Merts love of the game came from when her daughter Tania started playing in the U7s Otago Girls team, while being based in Twizel. Mert made the drive to Dunedin often until they moved South and Tanya switched from Otago to the Maroon and Yellow. Because she enjoyed being in a basketball environment from being a score keeper, team manger Mert put her hand up as team manager. One of Merts fondest memories is when she managed the Southland U17 team which included her daughter Tania, they travelled away to compete in the New Zealand Division 2 nationals and were crowned champions. “It was a special time for this team especially the girls as it had exceeded their expectations”.
Mert continues to volunteer for SBA as a court controller for all our school competitions, she is also the ref coordinator. Mert has enjoyed following the progress of hundreds of kids who have gone through the ranks, “it’s special to see the kids come through from U7s to Sharks and still watch them play”. We appreciate Mert and what she does for SBA and the community.
Thank you Mert!