Young Beards Excellence on Show at National Level
The Beard family is no stranger to the Flames Family. With Jo being a long time stalwart of the club in many coveted roles, Andy putting in solid years of work as a WABL Team Manager and more importantly SBL Barman, whilst their two eldest boys have come right through our WABL Ranks and now are key members of the future of our Men's SBL Team. Then there is the baby of the Family Callum, who earlier this year was the recipient of a scholarship to the most elite basketball facility in the country, the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence in Canberra.
Our very own Travis Young caught up with Cal on behalf of the club recently, to see how the youngest Beard has settled into life in our national capital.
RF: So the youngest Beard is away from the Big Brothers and Ma n Pa Beard. What have been the biggest challenges for you over in Canberra when it comes to family mate?
CB: The biggest challenge with being away from family is definitely not being used to coming home to no familiar faces, or having someone to always pick up after you, but that helps me better myself as a person. Not having Kyle and Justin around is definitely a huge thing for me, as us three were always known to be around each other, but to have friends I can call brothers over here helps.
RF: This all happened so quickly after you went to the Australian Development Camp at the start of the year. What's the transition been like to living at the Centre of Excellence and adjusting at school etc?
CB: As you said mate, it happened so quickly and I only had 3 days to prepare and get myself ready. The transition was definitely a challenge, moving away from a place I've grown up my whole life to an alien environment, but the thing that helped me transition was just getting into meet the boys here and not standing back being afraid. The COE is a professional place so all athletes are very well looked after with personal physios and masseuses to look after you, with food and everything you could need, supplied for. School and other things are the same really, the school is based around a collage environment and so it's a huge difference to school back home, but I'm settling in fine.
RF: There was a strong chance had you stayed in Rockingham, you would have gotten an SBL contract this season. Now you will instead be a part of the CoE team in the SEABL, up against NBL players on an almost weekly basis. How have you handled the step up in intensity and opposition skill level in comparison to what you would get back in WA?
CB: I definitely reckon the ADC camp got me prepared to acknowledge what level you have to be at to train with the fellas over here, but even yet it's on a whole other level even compared to the ADC camp, as you're training with the best players in Australia, and even possibly some of the top athletes in the world for our ages. Although I was lucky to have that opportunity, before hand for me was definitely just always going 100% in everything I did, getting into the courts and working my butt off everyday along side my brothers who always pushed me to make me better. My brothers were a huge part in my development growing up, I always looked up to them and absorbed all the information they gave me, and even to this day I still listen to them and look up to them as role models. If I was to just give one piece of advice that has helped me in stepping up the intensity, is to always just stay positive, and work as hard as you can and give your everything, that's helped me get this far, just working harder then everyone on the court, being that one player who dives on loose balls and just doing the little things. Once you have that ability, the rest of game will come to you.
RF: Being an athlete at the country's most elite basketball facility must have its advantages. What are some of the things about living at the CoE that many of us back here might not know about?
CB: People think that being here is all about making you just a better basketball player, but one of the top priorities here is not only that, but to make you the best person you can be. Besides all the serious stuff, the best thing here is having access to a masseuse, a physio, and anyone who can help you when ever you need them to. Also just how close everyone here is, only being here for less then 4 weeks, it's feels like a second family to me, which is one of the best things.
I think we can finally settle the argument around the club about who is the best Beard boy!! All joking aside though, how was the support been from Kyle and Justin, as well as your mum and dad?
CB: Ahah All those 1 on 1 on 1's can now be settled to see who's the best beard. Jokes aside though, I can confidently say how much I took what my family did for me for granted and just regret not saying that thankyou everyday, but I make sure Now that every time I talk to them I thank them. Everyday my family worked just as hard as I did to get me where I am today, and looking back now I couldn't be more grateful for especially what my family done for me. Any young players out there, just always remember what your parents are doing for you, just so you can play the sport you love. The support was just beyond crazy. My brothers being my brothers are still hassling me everyday to make sure I ain't slacking off or resting. I think because growing up they've always dreamed of doing what I'm doing, and for me to actually have this opportunity, they want me to become better and want to watch me grow as a player and that's honestly the best support I could ask for.
RF: Finally Cal, what are your goals for the remainder of the year and what opportunities do you think having this opportunity now will open up for you in the future??
CB: My goals for this year is to make the Australian Oceania team from which we can qualify for worlds, and for in 2 years time I can try out for Australia U19 junior team. The opportunities I have from this are never ending, just having exposure across the world, being watched even when I think I'm not, just opens so many doors to different pathways, although my main goals are to have a spot in an NBL squad, being able to train with the boomers squad and hopefully one day play in the Olympics, and everyone's dream to play NBA.
Just a quick message to everyone back home, good luck for WABL and SBL this year, work hard and most importantly have fun and keep the rocko values close to your heart, I'll be working as hard as I can and I can't wait to catch up with everyone when I get back! - B3 (Beard #3)
Callum and the COE team begin their SEABL Campaign this weekend on the road as they head to Victoria to take on the Geelong Supercats tomorrow night, before backing up on Sunday against the Nunawading Spectres. Head to www.seabl.com.au to follow how the COE Men's team do throughout the 2017 SEABL Season.
On behalf of the entire Flames Family we wish Callum the best of luck and will follow his progress throughout the year.