By Haley Boyden

Everybody has an activity that takes up most of their time: Netflix, homework, or napping.  For Ireland Hall, basketball is that activity.

Ireland has been playing basketball since second grade.  She participated in “Saturday Basketball,” which is where Ireland learned to play her favorite sport many years ago.  She first got into basketball because both of her brothers participated in basketball prior to her joining the Saturday League.  Ireland watched their games and decided she wanted to be like them.  Not only that, her close friend, Claudia Labbe, also began to participate in the sport.  

Every year since then, Ireland has excelled in basketball.  She enjoyed basketball back then; however, Ireland has a greater appreciation for the sport today.

Basketball plays a large part of her life in and out of school.  She doesn’t mind how much time it takes out of her daily life.  “It’s something that almost everyone in my family plays.  It’s something we do together,” she said.

Even though her parents did not play on their high school basketball teams, they encouraged their kids to play by participating in family games of “Pig” or “Knockout.” This influenced Ireland’s life by incorporating basketball even more so into her life.  Besides the family aspect, Ireland also appreciates the friendships created by basketball.  

Hall states that she has played with a lot of the same players since freshman year, so the majority of the team has created a bond.  This team bond includes the upperclassman, but also willingly accepts freshmen and sophomore team members.  

Balancing school and sports can sometimes be a challenge, especially around midterm and final exams.  With college applications due and senior year nearing the end, it can be easy to become stressed.  This leads to the question: how hard is it to balance school, sports, and planning for the future?  

“It’s easy with classwork because I’ve had less classwork than other years,” she said.  “But with applications and stuff like that for college, it’s been hard trying to balance that with basketball.”  She succeeds nonetheless.  

Ireland, also called “Earland” or “Ear” for short, has made quite the impact on the team this year.  According to Rebecca Kennett, manager of the Girls’ Varsity Basketball team, “Ireland Hall is a key player, always positive.  She jokes around sometimes, but is serious.  A real star player.”  

Within the team itself, Ireland sees Regan Lynch as a fellow role model.  “She is good at basketball and engaged in the game,” said Ireland Hall.  “But at the same time, she is a nice friend and someone to lean on.”  

Outside of the team, Ireland has also found inspiration in the NBA.  “I used to watch the Celtics when I was younger, so I used to really be obsessed with Kevin Garnett.  I don’t know why, I just related to him.  Probably because he played the same position as me,” Hall said.

Not only does Ireland have role models of her own, she is a role model to underclassmen as well.  According to Mike Hart, coach of the Girls’ Varsity Basketball at FHS, “She is a tremendously supportive leader.  She’s one of those kids who never complains and is always a hard-working individual; she always has been since she began playing for me. She is just a joy to have on the team.”  

Girls who have recently started to play high school basketball are able to watch Ireland and see the perseverance and motivation necessary in order to improve their skills in basketball.

Ireland also played field hockey for three years of her high school career.  However, she says that basketball is still her favorite because of her long history with the sport.