For 23 years, WNBL legend Suzy Batkovic dunked and dribbled through a very successful basketball career. But these days it’s less alley-oop and more baby-poop as she takes on her biggest competitors to date – her four-month-old twins, Charli and Layla.
Suzy and her partner, Dan Ryder, welcomed their girls on 15 September, right on 35 weeks’ gestation, just months after Suzy retired from the basketball court. Suzy acknowledges it’s been quite an adventure, and a change of pace from the pressures on the court.
“My career was obviously a priority and has been a big part of my life. It’s who I was,” Suzy tells PakMag. “But the plan was always to have kids, that was a no brainer for me.”
Suzy fell pregnant naturally and was thrilled to discover she was expecting twins. “I’ve always wanted twins but it was pretty amazing and a big shock as well.”
A Rocky Start
The girls arrived early and spent 24 days in NICU at The Mater, which Suzy admits was incredibly tough. “Layla had breathing difficulties. I’ve never been so stressed in my life. All the little things, all the problems you think you have, they are so irrelevant.”
Suzy credits her obstetrician, paediatrician, midwives, mum and partner for getting her through the experience.
“I couldn’t have asked for two better doctors and I don’t know if I would have coped without them. I’ve definitely cried more in those stages than I have ever in my life. Lucky for us, both babies came out great.”
Double Dose of Cute
Now the cheeky tots are thriving, putting on weight, hitting all their milestones and keeping their mum on her toes.
“There’s been lots of learning. You learn that you cope with minimal sleep. I’ve been pretty good – I may look tired but I can function pretty well.”
Of course, the twin snuggles makes the lack of sleep all worthwhile and Suzy loves watching her babies’ cheeky personalities develop every day.
“Motherhood has its moments, it has its days, but nothing beats them looking at you, giving you a smile. It makes all the tough times go away. They really are my greatest achievement.”
The Townsville Connection
Suzy’s career has taken her across Australia, to Europe and America and to three Olympic Games, but she has always had a special connection to Townsville where she, Dan and the girls live.
She first moved to Townsville when she was 20 to play for the Townsville Fire. She returned to The Fire several years later, met Dan and fell even more in love with the laid-back FNQ lifestyle. In fact, it’s this community spirit that inspired Suzy to take on her next challenge
– running for councillor for Division 6 in the local government elections.
“I’ve loved being part of the community,” Suzy tells PakMag. “That’s why I’ve decided to run as a councillor for Division 6. I live in the division and I love the division. It’s something I’m passionate about and I want to be that voice for people.”
From Hoop Dreams to Councillor Hopeful for the former basketball captain, it’s all about finding that happy medium between cuddles and campaigning for her community. In between nappy changes and tandem feeds, Suzy is out door knocking and campaigning and she is absolutely loving it so far.
“Townsville has been so supportive of me and for me, it’s all about giving back. I want my twin girls to grow up and live in a beautiful place and I want to help when things need to get done and fixed, whatever the issues may be.”
The local Townsville election will take place at the end of March 2020.