International Women's Day: Just Play

International Women's Day: Just Play


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Real Lifters: International Women's Day 2020

This International Women's Day, we're celebrating the women in our lives who lift us to our goals, to our potential and to our truest selves.

We stand by each for equal, and the ideal that every single person - no matter their race, views or upbringing - should be entitled to the same opportunities as the person next to them. This being said, none of that would be possible without the selflessness, loyalty and courage of the women who support us in everything we do.

So, in order to support the females in our lives that lift us to fight for glory; realise our potential; push boundaries and break misconceptions, we're bringing you six days of incredible and inspiring stories from six amazing women. 

Today, marks the sixth and final story. To find more from this years International Women's Day campaign, click here.

Chloe Burdett: The Heartbeat of The Family

Once you've watched the film footage below, please take an extra few minutes to delve further into the story of Chloe Burdett. Having previously trained in the hope of joining the England, U16 Basketball Squad, the founder of Justplay opens up to us about how an injury, just weeks before selections, changed her life.

"All Is Fair In Love And Basketball". 

Every child has a dream: a dream of what they want to be when they get older, and a dream of what exactly that's going to look like. But, like most things in life, it isn't until you start to grow and experience the world, that you realise that not everything is as simple as 'just making a dream come true'. 

For Chloe, her dream was to be part of the England, U16 Basketball Squad. Her reality, was torn cartilage, two weeks before selections.

This truth that you're about to read, follows a completely different journey to what you'd expect. The influence it's since had on the people who surround Chloe day in, day out, has been mesmerising.

. . . 

"From the age of 11, I started to play basketball, at both national and international level. I was then fortunate enough to be scouted by the England Development Squad at the age of 15".

Her dream, was coming to fruition.

Chloe trained with the England Development Squad for just under 2 years - committing to three-day, high intensity training camps every school holiday, in the hope that she would be selected for the England U16 Squad.

Two weeks before selections, Chloe tore the cartilage in her knee. 

Her dream, was being challenged.

Unbeknown to her at the time, this injury would pause her love of basketball, for at least 8 years. And, what it came down to, was unfortunately, more than just rehab...

"As soon as I knew what was wrong, I communicated the details of my injury to my coaches... I didn't receive any acknowledgement, any empathy or any support.

"As well as incurring a physical injury, the lack of support from those around me had a massive effect on my mental health. It stopped me playing basketball for 8 years."

Her dream, was over. Her future, only just begun.

. . . 

Lifted By Chloe...

Despite the rocky experience that Chloe incurred with basketball when she was younger, little did she know, that this would be the driving force encouraging her to start up the project: Justplay - a sporting group focused on making causal basketball, more accessible within the community.

"Our aim at Justplay is to be more than just a sports organisation. We want to use basketball as a vehicle to improve and support the mental, social and emotional wellbeing of our community."

And that is exactly what they do. Justplay engages with people that are inactive due to work, or life commitments - understanding the struggles that they might face, and going above and beyond to help promote the message of "community over competition".  "We offer a 'pay as you play' payment system; removing the financial ties that other organisations promote, in the hope that it would appeal to a wider audience", Chloe explains.

By creating this family, Chloe has brought strangers together with something - sometimes the only thing - that they share in common. Whether they play to excel in sport, or express themselves on the court, Chloe's driving force has only ever been the people she reaches. And that is something that even she doesn't realise.

Some people live for others. For every member of Justplay, that's Chloe. The heartbeat of the family.

All you 'gotta do, is just play.


Celebrate your lifter with #RealLifters and tag @Gymshark 



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