CANDO PODCAST EP 13: Breaking Society’s expectations with Basketball Feat. Mahi Jariwala

As part of our 2nd Annual National CanDo Day, CanDoers have been submitting their CanDo story as part of the #CanDoChallenge.

Here's Mahi's story: “She’s actually pretty good” announced the grown men in my local gym when I expressed interest in joining their pickup game. Even after they allowed me to join, they hesitated while passing the ball to me because they feared I would “get hurt.” I learned firsthand about the negative connotations placed upon girls who play basketball. Then, during my tryouts for the local girls' league, I was judged for my skin color. As Indians are stereotyped to perform poorly in sports, people often assumed my athletic ability to be lower than others before I even stepped on the floor. However, someone’s narrative empowered me to persevere. Stephen Curry’s story inspired me. When I saw him playing for the first time, I couldn't believe anyone could play basketball like that; he brought out a passion I had for the game I never knew existed. In 4th grade, I listened to his story about how he was not heavily recruited in college, but he overcame adversity and became one of the greatest shooters of all time by working hard. From that day on, I learned to disregard others' perceptions of me and embrace the grind. Curry’s story helped me realize my love for basketball, and that is what inspired me to share the story of leaders in our community, to inspire some other girl out there, just like he inspired me. That's why I created the She Can Ball podcast, a show designed to uplift marginalized members of the female basketball community. Through conversations with remarkable college athletes, WNBA players, sports journalists, coaches, and other trailblazers, She Can Ball aims to provide girls with the necessary resources and motivation to become the best version of themselves both on and off the court. I wanted to create a resource that would encourage young girls that are passionate about basketball to stay in the sport by learning from the experiences and advice from those who have been successful in the sports industry. My women’s basketball community, my coaches and teammates have molded me into the person I am today. They have taught me how to deal with pressure, take charge as a leader, and have given me a sense of belonging. It is what my community has provided that compels me to give back to it through amplifying marginalized voices in the women’s sports community. Harnessing over five thousand listens spanning across 28 different countries, I hope to support as many young girls as possible to shatter society’s expectations.