FOR the Molan family, basketball is a way of life.
There is not a day in the week when a member of the family is not training, coaching or playing the sport.
Andrea and Tom Molan are parents to Sophie, 13, Charlie, 11, Alex, 9, and Fraser, 7.
And the love of the game runs through their veins.
Without a central basketball complex in Ballarat, their lives are a juggling act of getting the right child to the right court.
All the children play for their age groups at the Ballarat Saints basketball team.
A typical Saturday for the lively family will begin with an Under 10s game at 8am and will finish with a late game at 5.30pm.
Often the children will have scheduled games on Saturday, spread out between the Minerdome, Ballarat Netball Centre and Badminton Stadium.
“The kids will often play between two and sometimes three venues,” Mrs Molan said.
“I will usually have to rely on others to transport my kids to their different games, but the fact is many of parents are in the same situation, so we are always helping each other out.
“If the kids opt to play a second game in an older age group, the day’s schedule can become an absolute nightmare.
“These games have to be squeezed into an already tight program for local competition as they are often scheduled really late.”
The family’s Sunday afternoons are taken up by basketball squad training sessions for Charlie and Sophie because it is the only day when there are any available courts at the Minerdome.
Other games are further scattered – Sophie also plays on Friday nights for the Ballarat Rush Under 14s and Charlie plays for the Under 10s boys Ballarat representative basketball team.
Mrs Molan, who also coaches an Under 10s team, said she and her husband spent every night of the week taking children to and from various basketball stadiums across the city. She said there was a pressing need for a single multi-purpose basketball complex to be built with adequate space for training and matches.
“The sport seems to be bursting at the seams and extra courts all under the one roof would be a real encouragement to keep the kids doing what they love and living a healthy lifestyle,” she said.
“Basketball is a great sport because it provides a level of inclusion that isn’t found in other sports.
“Players aren’t limited, they are able to defend and shoot goals and be a part of all aspects of the glory.”
Mrs Molan said training sessions at the Minerdome were frequently cancelled for special events, because there was such a demand for the courts.
“There have been many times when training has had to be cancelled because there just isn’t the space,” Mrs Molan said. “We love it and we wouldn’t do it or drive around to the different courts if we didn’t love it, but the sport is growing rapidly and there needs to be an investment made into its future.”