Maggie Kelderman carries her love of basketball through states


Maggie Kelderman playing basketball during an intense game

Moving schools can be one of the most challenging parts of someone’s life; let alone moving across states. For junior Maggie Kelderman, her transitions from the suburbs of Illinois to Grand Rapids, Michigan, was only made more difficult by her love of one thing she wanted to continue doing: basketball. 

“Moving to Michigan and finding a gym that I really like with my travel team, who I’ve now been with since fifth grade, was a huge part of my life,” Maggie said. “Once I finally found that team and started fitting in with them, I felt so much more at home in Michigan.”

Maggie’s journey with her sport started the same way many people do. When she was a kindergartener, her parents decided she should start playing a sport. Not only did they have her join a rec league in basketball, but they also signed her up for some other sports. 

Once I finally found my team and started fitting in with them I felt so much more at home in Michigan

— Maggie Kelderman

“My parents were trying to figure out what sports I would want to play,” Maggie said. “I played volleyball until my freshman year. I did soccer for a while, until about second grade. And I was actually a competitive cheerleader until we moved to Michigan in fifth grade.”

The sport of basketball resonated much more with her than the others did. While some of her other after-school activities didn’t follow her to Michigan, she made sure that basketball did.

However, basketball is only part of the way she spends her free time when she has it. 

“I love hanging out with my friends and family,” Maggie said. “I’m super big on family, I love hanging out with them. We have a whole movie list that we’re trying to watch together. And me and my friends go out to dinner sometimes, but it’s usually just nice to have them around for company. We don’t necessarily have to be doing anything as long as we’re together. 

Basketball takes up the majority of Maggie’s free time. Between school, practice, and games, there isn’t much room for much else, but she still always seems to be able to find a few minutes in her day to throw a ball around with her dog or watch half a movie with her family.

While there are other things Maggie could be doing, she has never lost any of her love for basketball and is always excited to be able to spend time with her teammates.

“Sometimes I wish I had more [free time],” Maggie said, “but I enjoy basketball so much. Practices don’t seem like a chore to me. I get genuinely excited to go to practice, so it’s kind of all worth it if I have less free time.”

Even the best athletes and teams have off-seasons. It’s never fun, but once you finally win a game after multiple failures, it makes that victory all the better. For Maggie, one of her favorite memories from being on her basketball team was caused by this very thing.

“[My team] won a pretty big tournament over the summer,” Maggie said. “We were playing against a really good team, and it was a super close game. To this day we still don’t know how we pulled through. But that was a super good memory for me. We had been having a pretty bad season, we’d lost all of our games, so winning that one was pretty awesome.”

Whether it’s in the suburbs of Illinois or Grand Rapids, Michigan, basketball has been something that Maggie has carried throughout her life. 

Commitment and love have carried her through years of her sport and she couldn’t be happier about it. Not many people can go through years of the same sport and still feel the same level of passion for it. Maggie is one of them. 

“Basketball is very hard, but it’s also a very rewarding sport,” Maggie said. “Especially when you reach your goals, it’s one of the best feelings. It’s a super positive environment overall when you surround yourself with great coaches and teammates.”