Graduating amid the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many changes in post-graduate plans for the Class of 2020. However, for the former captain of the women’s basketball team and star of Division III (DIII) Maddie Hasson ’20, basketball has managed to remain a constant in its transition to post-Bowdoin life. But instead of working out at Morrell Gymnasium and playing games across New England, she now plays professional basketball in Dublin, Ireland.
Hasson plays for the National League of Basketball in Ireland and is studying at Griffith College in Dublin, where she is preparing for her master’s degree. While his team, Templeogue Basketball Club, is yet to play a game this season, Hasson is ready to return to the court after an inconclusive end to his final season.
When the NCAA announced on March 12 that all national championship games would be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hasson was devastated. She wasn’t ready to see her basketball career end so abruptly. The women’s basketball team was victorious in the NESCAC Championship Game and was preparing for the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA DIII Championships when it learned that its season would be cut short.
It was a devastating loss, said Hasson, who felt the team was reaching its peak after so much hard work.
“It was just the most special thing in the world, and I think the pain of losing it really shows how important it was to me and to all of us, and how influential it was,” said Hasson in a Zoom interview with Orient.
Just minutes after the heartbreaking news, head coach Adrienne Shibles informed the team that Hasson had received the NCAA Division III Player of the Year award from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), the most prestigious individual honor in women’s basketball DIII.
“I think it was one of the most incredible shows of selflessness and how close our team was, how excited all of my teammates were for me with this announcement,” Hasson said. “[It] really reaffirmed everything I already knew about the quality of my teammates.
Eager to pursue her basketball career, Hasson joined forces with the Sport Changes Life Foundation. The program connects outstanding athletes from the United States with professional basketball teams in Ireland and offers them the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree and coach or tutor children in the region.
The opportunity to play professional basketball in Ireland had been on Hasson’s radar for a while. While attending South Portland High School she met Bowdoin women’s basketball star Shannon Brady ’16, who went on to play professional basketball through Sport Changes Life in Dublin a few years after graduating. his diploma. While Hasson was only a sophomore at the time and not yet thinking about her post-graduate plans, the program’s appeal remained with her.
“I couldn’t finish my career as we had hoped,” Hasson said. “I just wanted to play again and I knew I wanted to pursue my mastery.”
But Hasson’s experience has been tested by the COVID-19 pandemic. When she arrived in Ireland in early September, she had to self-quarantine for two weeks. His classes at Griffith University were partially in-person until last week when Ireland returned to its toughest level of lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and all classes were replaced with teaching from a distance. Hasson has not yet coached or tutored children, which is the volunteer aspect of Sport Changes Life.
As for basketball itself, Hasson said it’s the same game whether it’s Brunswick or Dublin. She was able to train with her team and is currently roommates with two of her teammates who are also dating Griffith. Although Team Templeogue has yet to play a game due to COVID-19, they have mingled and adapted to play together.
“The team dynamics and all of that is obviously different from Bowdoin,” Hasson said. “It’s different being thrown in with a new group, but it’s been great fun so far to play organized basketball again and have this new experience.”
As for her basketball career, Hasson doubts the WNBA is in the cards, but she would be willing to play for another European professional basketball league. Additionally, Hasson is eager to see what opportunities might arise after completing his Masters in International Business Management program.
For other Bowdoin basketball players looking to extend their athletic careers beyond their time in college, Hasson strongly recommends looking into the Sport Changes Lives program.
“It’s been another year playing the sport I love while earning a master’s degree. It’s kind of a win-win situation,” Hasson said.