Basketball player highlights differences in American, Australian sportsmanship

December 5, 2017

Bryanna Winner

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Relocating to a new country can be enlightening, exciting, frightening or even shocking. For Ed Bourke, sophomore forward on the men’s basketball team, coming to the United States was a culture shock.

    “Despite having the same language, coming from Australia is a huge culture shock,” said Bourke, a history major from Melbourne, Australia.

    “The biggest thing that I struggled with in a student athlete perspective was the level of confidence and the kind of arrogance that student athletes have.”

    Bourke decided to attend college in the U.S. after he advanced his basketball skills. Bourke is the youngest of five, and all of his brothers play basketball.

    “With me being the youngest and a slight age gap between my older brothers, I was able to kind of transform my game a bit and just bit by bit I was exposed to high levels,” said Bourke.

     He has competed in five games this season with a .833 field goal percentage, a .677 free throw percentage and eight rebounds, one offensively and seven defensively.

    “The United States is the basketball center of the world and I gradually got better and better at the sport, so college was an option,” he said.

    “With international basketball players, or let alone a lot of sports, America is a great option because unlike the rest of the world, school sports are unique to America in the way that it’s completely central around the school system.

    In the U.S., Bourke has experienced changes in sportsmanship that differ from Australia.

    “A big Australian value is humility. Obviously, you’ll have those people that don’t have those values, but Australia takes a lot of pride in their humility. Confidence and flamboyancy in the U.S. is broadcasted, promoted and infused into the athletic culture,” said Bourke.

    In Australia, athletes experience a concept called the “tall poppy syndrome,” which relates to the value of humility, according to Bourke.

    “This involves anyone in the spotlight of any profession. If they get too big for their shoes, the media and population will just take them down right away,” he said.

    In the U.S., most schools allow student athletes pick their schedules around their practice and game times so they don’t miss class times. Tutors are available to help athletes if they are struggling in classes. At UCCS, the Excel Centers serve as one resource.

    “Most other countries like Europe and Australia are pretty much club sports. Whereas in America, you get to combine the two,” said Bourke.

    As for his inspirations, Bourke admires Andrew Bogut, an Australian player on the Los Angeles Lakers.     

   “Andrew Bogut is an Australian big, really any bigs who solidified their game away from athleticism. I was always the most athletic guys on my teams in Australia and here I am one of the least athletic guys,” said Bourke.  

    Bourke and the rest of the basketball team will play at home against Chadron State on Dec. 8 and Regis University on Dec. 9.