Jessica Bibby is this week’s Girls FC fan of the week. Find out more about what made her stand out
Whenever I comment on other sports I feel the need to plead ignorance in advance…but not so with Jess and her record breaking Canberra Capitals basketball team.
Just go to a Canberra Capitals match and you will see what I mean. The atmosphere is electric, the crowd is rowdy, you-re close to the action, and (Coach) Carrie Graff is entertaining all by herself, endlessly strutting up and down the court. But then, when Jess takes to the court the crowd steps up to another level, swaying with Jess-s every move and the crescendo only subsides when Graffie ushers her off!
Jessica Bibby is Girls FC-s Fan of the Week. We caught up with her for a quick Q&A…
So Jess, each and every athlete has their own level of inspiration. What makes you tick? What is it about basketball specifically?
I’m definitely addicted to competition, and I love being around people, so a team sport was always a no brainer for me. My undiagnosed hyperactivity means I have to be on the go all day everyday. Basketball has always been a great outlet for my energetic ways. It-s pretty fun too!
Your career highlight to date?
It-s hard to find just one. Whipping on the green-and-gold jersey is a pretty awesome feeling. Winning five (hopefully soon a sixth) WNBL championships is also something pretty special that I truly appreciate.
Some of my footballing pals have some unusual pre-match rituals they undertake. Do you to anything consistent/strange before taking to the court? Be honest now…
I’ve never been one to be overly superstitious or stick to any one routine, but in my early days (especially on road trips) I always liked to be extremely busy pre-match. I used to love body surfing in Scarborough Beach, market shopping in Sydney/Melbourne, before quickly returning to the hotel to pop the uniform on. These days I try to get in a quick nap and the right shoe and sock goes on before the left ones!
What skills do you possess in order to counteract your ‘lack- of height?
I was certainly absent the day they were giving out extreme height 🙂 My speed has always been a strength of mine, and being smaller has forced me to work on my three-point shooting, so I rarely have to venture into the land of the giants under the basket. There will always be a place for the little folk in basketball!
Best piece of advice you have received during your career?
‘Get a haircut- is something I have heard often and never listened to! But I did take notice when someone once said, ‘If you-re not doing the work, there-s someone else out there who is.-
Your favourite pastime away from basketball?
I’m a huge sports nut. I love watching just about every sport ever invented, with the majority of my support going to the Carlton Football Club…and now Canberra United 🙂
I also spend most non-basketballing moments dreaming/pretending to be a huge rock star. I’m also addicted to the gym…I also like to eat a lot!
How did you first hear about Girls FC?
It-s a pretty unbelievable story really. I was walking towards a particular Canberra establishment and ran into a certain individual who has some involvement with Girls FC, and our conversation went pretty much like this:
SS: ‘Hey, how you doin-?-
Me: ‘Yeah, pretty good thanks. What are you up to?-
SS ‘Writing an article for Girls FC.-
That-s how I heard! 🙂 Since that day I have checked it out and wish that basketball had something similar. How awesome for football fans to be able to ask questions, get advice and really get up close an personal with the superstars of the game!
What do you think about the quality of the Westfield W-League?
I have followed the W-League since it started and have been super impressed. I’m still learning the rules. I can’t yet tell a foul from a great tackle (Is that the lingo?). Ha! The speed of the game and the obvious crazy foot skills, not to mention the success of the Matildas suggests it must be world class. I’m also in awe when the girls head the ball. In basketball when the ball hits you in the head it-s called a falcon and everybody laughs at you. Not to mention it-s really painful! Those basketballs aren’t soft!
You have been playing in the WNBL for many years. Do you see the W-League evolving into a strong competition similar to the basketball?
I’ve actually spent half my life (15 years) playing in the WNBL I now feel like a geriatric—I need a nap and a hot water bottle.
I see a lot of similarities between the two leagues. Both are world class and appeal to a wide audience. The WNBL has been around for 25-odd years and probably hasn’t capitalised as much as it could have in terms of promotion, exposure of players, etc. The W-League only being three years old has the potential to be something amazing.
Being an experienced campaigner like yourself, what do you think the W-League could take from the WNBL as some ‘advice- to move forward?
Always strive to be better each and every season—not just on the field, but off it as well. Take advantage of the success of the Matildas, and do anything and everything to keep all the homegrown talent here in Australia. And never ever ever resort to wearing lycra bodysuits!!!!!!!!!!
How do you fancy yourself as a footballer?
I can usually look reasonably athletic when playing most sports, but on a whole I’m quite uncoordinated and for some nagging reason I feel my ‘unco-ness’ would be highlighted significantly by playing football. I do have large feet. Would that help? 🙂 I am in awe of the pretty special skill set required to play the beautiful game!
If you were to play football, what position and why?
Santiago Munoz (Caitlin Munoz of Canberra United) would be out of a job as I would definitely be a striker! I wish basketballers could celebrate scoring like you footballers do. I do an amazing aeroplane!!
You made some interesting observations after our game against Perth over the weekend Would you care to elaborate?
Being involved in an indoor sport my whole life it was a different experience for me (a great one all the same) sitting on the dirt/grass at McKellar. From this I found that the entire world-s ant population are huge united supporters and they thought my legs were doubling up as the grandstand! There is a small fortune to be made by selling insect repellent!
I also found that it goes along way towards winning when you don’t score goals for the other team (sorry to bring that up again). Can I suggest removing the offside rule to allow more goals? Surely a free-for-all would work! 😉 And the BFG with the weird hair-do running around in the middle for CU can kinda play a bit!
You-ve been quite nomadic during your career. You have lived down in Dandenong, played overseas, and are now in Canberra. Where to next for you?
One of the great things about sport is the travel opportunities. I’ve been lucky enough to play in all parts of the world in some of the great stadiums and in front of huge crowds. I’m now trying to give back a little and have just started a school-based program here in Canberra educating kids on healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and encouraging more kids to take up basketball. My apologies in advance if I steal some football kids! 🙂 Sooo it looks like Canberra could be the place for me over the next few years. And I’m not done playing yet either!
Thanks for your time, Jess. What an incredible career you have had! Best of luck for the rest of the season. We will keep our eye on you and your team, and fingers crossed you earn your sixth title this year.