Basketball took Nicole Gynes from junior ranks in Warrnambool to the elite level.
But after eight seasons at the top across three clubs — AIS, Dandenong Rangers and Canberra Capitals — she needed a break from the WNBL.
Gynes (nee Hunt) has settled in Geelong and is working full-time, a nice change from juggling the demands of a professional sporting career with part-time jobs.
She still has a small involvement in basketball coaching a school team but is not playing.
The 167-centimetre point guard, who notched her 150th WNBL game last season, is unsure of her long-term playing future.
“I am taking a break from basketball,” Gynes said.
“I hadn’t been enjoying it the past season or so and I will see how I freshen up after 12 months (out of the sport).
“It was a really hard decision but I have always loved basketball and I wasn’t really enjoying it.”
Still just 25, Gynes said it was a hiatus not a retirement.
She doesn’t know if in time she will miss the professional sporting environment or whether her time away from the court will become permanent.
Gynes, whose younger brother Tim was injured playing football for WAFL club Perth recently, said she had age on her side.
“Speaking to a few people, we thought this is the time do it because I am still young and can come back to play if that’s what I decide,” she said.
“A few people throughout their careers have had a break and come back after 12 months.
“I was off contract but they (Canberra) obviously still wanted me to go back but I had a few chats with Carrie (Graf, the coach) and she gave me time to think about it.
“She was disappointed but understood where I was coming from.
“I am really happy with my decision.”
Gynes is enjoying the Geelong lifestyle.
Her husband Alex Gynes — the pair married in April — plays for SEABL club Geelong Supercats, is working at Metricon Homes and helping Geelong College’s basketball program.
“I have a full-time job and am coaching their (Geelong College’s) firsts girls as well, so I still have a little bit to do with basketball and I am still at the stadium most weekends with Alex,” she said.
“It’s something different working nine to five — with basketball it was always part-time and around training.
“I am enjoying doing something different.
“I really love Geelong and it’s lovely to be close to home again.”
Gynes is running regularly but has cut back on gym sessions which were prevalent during her time in the WNBL and might join a domestic basketball competition in Geelong later this year.