Netball – Day 51
Like most girls, I played netball at school and for the first year, played as Goal Defence, which proved a fruitful position for me. That was until the Goal Shooters continued growing and I didn’t. I was swiftly moved into the centre position, as I was fairly nifty back in the day. However, at the same time as honing my netballing skills, I was also getting into hockey. Hockey and netball aren’t great bedfellows as they are both winter sports and school fixtures started to clash. In the 3rd year my teacher Miss Sheppard, who I considered my Yoda at the time, took me aside and said something like: “The decision is nigh my child and you must choose your path – hockey or netball. Choose it you must but choose wisely, as once the choice is made, you cannot go back (apart from the odd house match)”.
I considered my options and went with hockey, on the basis that it didn’t seem so height reliant, I was quite good at it and also boys played hockey as well. In another dimension, I could be a mediocre netball player now, instead of a mediocre hockey player. Sometimes you can only ponder the fork in the road of one’s destiny.
Anyway, I shuffled into the local leisure centre, so as to avoid eye contact with any of the staff who know me from hockey, and made my way down to the court. I was greeted by the club and I was introduced to a familiar face. It turned out that it was one of the girls from football the previous week. She looked at me as if I was stalking her and probably mentally calculated the cost of a restraining order.
We warmed up with a few good exercises, which I am going to promptly steal and use at junior hockey practise. I felt like a spy infiltrating enemy lines. Unfortunately for me, I’d managed to come down on “fitness week” as circuit training stations were laid out. This varied from planking to shooting to footwork exercises. Damn, netball is tougher than you’d think!
Finally, after a thorough but enjoyable workout, we got into a game situation and I managed to land the coveted centre position. The bib was handed over on the proviso that I would have to run around. When the whistle blew, I gave it my all and run about I did. It was like riding a bike; the pivot was still there. My favourite, the old bounce pass was deployed but unlike 20 (plus) years ago, I was knackered after 5-6 minutes, so subbed myself off for a breather.
When I came on again, I was playing Goal Defence and my Goal Attack, (who I subsequently named “Zippy") did the same play every single time and although I knew what was coming, I was way too slow and short to have any impact at all. It was like having two dogs chasing after a stick – the young puppy always getting there first, with the old dog trailing behind, thinking, That used to be me!
The session tweaked some nostalgia in me and I know that England Netball run nationwide “Back to Netball” programmes. If I didn’t have all these sports to try, I think I would go back and play non-competitively, as it was good fun, the team were welcoming and if nothing else, the fitness was good. I would just have to make sure I went in disguise though, so none of the hockey lot would see me.
Sofa Dodger; One Woman's Quest to Try 100 Different Sports and Fitness Classes in a Year is available on Amazon, please click here