Ballarat Rush plays its final game of the South East Australian Basketball League season on Saturday night.
By Monday, the team’s vice captain Joy Burke will be on a plane to Taiwan.
The quick turnaround allows the star competitor, who was born in Taiwan, to play in Taipei’s Jones Cup, with the tournament beginning on Wednesday, July 25.
Burke will remain in the country to train with the national team ahead of its Asian Games campaign, which will be held in Indonesia from August 18 to September 2.
“I hadn’t officially made the decision that I was going to be doing all of this until a week or two ago,” Burke said.
“I feel really honoured because everyone is so supportive of everything that I do so it makes it easier for me.”
Burke spent the SEABL bye, which fell on the Queen’s birthday long weekend, in Japan competing with her Chinese Taipei teammates in practice games.
But, even then, she could not commit to the Jones Cup because of a chance of Ballarat Rush playing finals.
Burke said the first time she competed for Chinese Taipei was in the 2015 edition of the tournament. Since then she has not played in front of a home crowd.
“I’m really looking forward to having that opportunity, just to be able to actually train with my team and prepare,” Burke said.
“I normally just show up when it is time to play.”
Burke said she always had to adapt pretty quickly to the change in competitions, but the main priority was to stay in shape and healthy.
“It’s all I know now,” she said of the transition.
“You just have to somehow find a way and the good thing is that both teams, whether it is here or my national team, they are really supportive.
“It is just about working together and communicating properly.”
While in Taiwan, Burke will have the opportunity to spend time with her brother, extended family and the friends she made before moving to the United States.
“It’s always a bit of a homecoming for me,” she said. “I’m really fortunate that home is in so many different places. I’m so invested wherever I am, it rips my heart out whenever I have to leave a place.”
The good news is Burke will return to Ballarat in September to continue her community work and finalise her plans for next season.
“Having the Ballarat community continue to support not only me, but our team, through this season is what makes it so special and makes it hard to leave,” she said. “It’s the relationships and the people that have been so great throughout.”