Amy Atwell was of two minds as the Hawaii women’s basketball team embarked on its first Big West road trip of the season.
Much of the fourth-year junior’s thoughts were of the here and now, of her 6-7 Rainbow Wahine taking on Cal State Northridge (5-9) in their opener at 5 p.m. Thursday.
But Atwell also couldn’t also help but be thousands of miles away mentally, back to her homeland of Australia, which continues to be scorched by out-of-control wildfires, especially on the country-continent’s eastern seaboard. Atwell, one of two Australians on the team along with guard Courtney Middap, hails from the city of Perth in Western Australia, but has relatives and friends in the more heavily populated Eastern side of the country. Middap is from the Australian island of Tasmania.
“My thoughts and prayers are definitely with everyone in Australia and the tough time they’re going through,” Atwell said before boarding the team bus behind the Stan Sheriff Center on Tuesday. “There’s definitely been a lot of support from everyone around the world, which is great to see.”
Forward Amy Atwell is one of two Australians on the #HawaiiWBB roster. She shared what it’s been like following from afar the massive, ongoing wildfires in her home country. pic.twitter.com/Q0uGrB8vei
— Hawaii Warrior World (@hawaiiwworld) January 7, 2020
The tally of killed animals is now over a billion, according to an estimate provided by USA Today, plus 26 people. The number of acres scorched is in the millions.
Pro athletes like San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills, a native Australian, have taken up the cause on social media.
UH athletics lists at least 15 student-athletes among its 2019-20 teams as being from Australia.
“There’s a lot of donation/help lines going around for the RSPCA, which is the animal shelters back home and the Red Cross,” Atwell said. “Any donation helps and everything goes a long way.”
The New York Times provided an extensive breakdown of different ways to contribute to the relief efforts.