Some might think that not having the ideal height may be too much of an obstacle to take up playing basketball, much less to excel at the sport.
This is not the case with Bobeth O’Garro, who recently earned the best defensive player of the year award with 51 steals and 3 blocks and was named the assists champion with 42 assists in the Cayman Islands Basketball National Women’s League.
Standing at just about 5ft 4ins, O’Garro does more than play the game. She thrives, by making up her height deficit with heart, tenacity and a focus that is second to none.
First, she says, it helped being on a fantastic team – Quik Cash Storm – which swept through the season undefeated. Another plus was having a supportive coach in Errol Grey, who inspired her to give 100 per cent to every game.
Next, O’Garro says, she adopted a ‘take-no-prisoners’ attitude and worked her heart and soul out to ensure that her team-mates got the chance to score. In other words, she had a selfless attitude that went beyond winning.
‘More than anything, even more than winning, I wanted everyone on our team to look good,’ she said.
The 30-year-old mother of two is married to Dwight, who is also a national basketball player and referee. She is the daughter in-law of Cayman Islands Basketball Association’s National Technical Director, Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro. So, perhaps her kind of performance is almost par of the course.
But, in many other ways, O’Garro is an overachiever who excels at whatever she does. For she is the first woman acting commandant for the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps.
O’Garro started playing basketball at 17, because her best friend Scimone Campbell wanted to try a new sport.
The two chose basketball and football at the same time because: ‘We felt we were athletic enough to learn at such a late stage.’
This go-getter is also heavily involved in netball, which she says contributes to her basketball expertise.
‘Netball helps you to read the game, to be aware of where on the court your opponent is, in order to cut off passes. It always helps you to play man-to-man defense and certainly helps you to make more accurate passes.’
O’Garro says she did not set out to be a stats leader, but rather to play hard and help her team-mates.
‘I also think defense wins games and that is what I wanted to do: win. It is just a bonus that I was rewarded for what I expect myself to do. I was elated that my team won (the championship).
‘It was great playing with my team-mates. No quarrels, no fussing: just having fun. My team really worked well together and we used our experience to outplay others.’
O’Garro encourages other young women to get involved in the sport that she loves and to experience the fun that comes from playing.
‘I’d also say join a team because it helps you learn how to work with people, which is a good life skill.’
Basketball, she says, has helped her to make new friends and has provided many travel opportunities that she may not have received otherwise.
But for O’Garro, there are even greater benefits.
‘Being on the basketball team has made me more patriotic. It is something special to be a part of a national team and to bring home the gold to your country. It has also helped me to stay fit and as a coach, it has given me the opportunity to impact positively on the lives of our youth.
‘I have been able to use the sport to develop sportsmanship, leadership, discipline and simple hand-eye coordination.’