When basketball is your life, it is normal for life to creep into basketball. Antonella González and her two sisters grew up in the Concepción del Uruguay pavilion (Entre Ríos province, Argentina), running around between the benches, while her mother was the coach of the Club Tomás de Rocamora women's team. And on Sunday it could be seen that the family saga of women grows vigorous and maintains its passion for sports.
The image of Antonella breastfeeding her 11-month-old daughter Madi in the middle of a match in the Argentine First Division traveled half the world to surprise of its protagonist. “My mother also gave us the tit on a basketball court. For us it is something natural. That is why it is difficult for me to understand the dimension that this has had. But, welcome be the circumstance, to make our condition as mothers visible, to approach professionalism and to have more egalitarian conditions with respect to men ”, explains Antonella, a 30-year-old new mother, who attends El País from Entre Ríos with a vital and vindictive message. “Hopefully there are many more mothers on the courts. How much we still have to grow for this to stop impacting us ”, he points out.
Last weekend, Antonella's team, fifth in the table, faced a key match against Vélez Sarsfield, the unbeaten leader of the competition. She went to the appointment with her daughter Madi, short for “Madeleine”, as she usually does since the League began in January. “I am lucky to be in my club all my life and everything is very familiar. The coach is now my sister and they all help me a lot. Madi can be with me in these bubbles that we have because they have expanded the quota of the team so that I can always have a companion to help me with the girl. They have almost one more small player ”, details the base of the team. Antonella played 25 minutes and contributed eight points, two assists, three recoveries and two rebounds in Rocamora's valuable 61-44 victory. But the significance came to him for the episode that happened in the intermission, just before the start of the second half. “Normally, I feed the girl on the way to the pavilion and then I can be calm. On this occasion, I gave him one breast and, in the middle of the game, we almost turned to each other. She was hungry, she was restless, she was hot … and my breast was very heavy. So it was time ”, relates Antonella.
Life stopped time. In the middle of the tactical instructions and the motivational harangues, Antonella lowered herself from tension to "connect with the fat woman ." "I enjoyed it very much. I was with my heart rate at a thousand and with it I stepped onto the ground. I lowered the revs. I was losing a little bit of play, but I was winning a lot more. I had to be a mother rather than an athlete. This is life. May all mothers feel that it is possible. I tell them to cheer up. Life and sport look different after motherhood, ”she reflects.
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In Argentina, the women's basketball league is not professional. The contracts are temporary, cover only the competition periods, and only one of the 10 clubs pays professional salaries and, in the rest, the players combine their dedication to the team with studies or jobs. Without legal or contractual protection for pregnancy and maternity. “A few days ago we spoke with some deputies from here in Entre Ríos to see how it could be legislated so that pregnancy has the coverage of the clubs or the state, just as it happens in other jobs or in circumstances such as injuries. Sports mothers cannot be left to nothing. There is a long way to go ”, explains Antonella, who has a degree in Psychomotor skills and a freelance professional in this field for years. “No athlete wants to get pregnant while in competition, but it can happen and it should be considered. You have to legislate to avoid that helplessness ”, he emphasizes. “In my case, I got pregnant at the end of the last league, it was desired and planned. The pandemic lengthened the times and I was able to organize myself more progressively. I spent six or seven months dedicated to my daughter and then I started training to join the team. In December we already began to plan the league to the fullest ”, complete.
That's where Antonella's“ juggling ”began. “I work, play and I am a mother. The network and the family support is essential to reach everything. I run from here to there and my daughter, luckily, goes with me many times. She is a very good girl who adapts to everything. There are days when he comes with me to train, others stay with his grandparents or aunts, ”he explains.
His sister Laura is the coach of the team. His other sister, Vale, works in club communication and is his great help with Madi these weeks in trips and pavilions. She was the one who notified him last Sunday of the girl's lawsuit. And Antonella went to breastfeed her, naturally. “It is an image that is not usually seen in sports, but for a mother it is the most natural and everyday thing in the world. It gives food for thought, how little is seen and how much it impacts us. Hopefully it serves to make us a little more human. And so that the contracts reflect the reality of life ”, adds Antonella. "When Madi is older we will show her the photo that has gone viral and the press clippings that the grandmothers have saved," he closes.