Back in my youth, I was proper sporty. Between running club (shout out to Ryston Runners) and football, I also played for the school netball team. However by the time I got to high school, I pretty much gave all that up to concentrate on defacing homework diaries and school disco outfits.
It wasn’t until I got to uni that I really remembered the sport actually existed. So in the early stages of freshers, my friends flatmate suggested we join a casual netball league. “Casual” they said, “it will be fun” they said… Genuinely my only memory of this is me skidding across the court, falling flat on my face, with my trainers making that squeeky skidding-along-a-sports-hall noise that I can still hear like it was yesterday. Cringing hell. Needless to say, the only activities I took part in throughout the rest of my university career were drinking games.
So last Summer, my friend’s mum who is a proper netballer (in that she plays for a team every week) mentioned there was a ‘Get back into netball’ session being put on locally for 8 weeks throughout the Summer. It came at a really good time as I was going through a period where I was staying late at work too often for my liking, so as sad as it sounds, it gave me a good reason to leave on time.
My main concern with seriously taking up a team sport was a ‘Mean Girls’ scenario. Even at 25, as much as we try to get away from it, girls can still be really cliquey and bitchy. Ain’t no one got time for that. The get back into Netball sessions weren’t at all like that, as many of us were all in same boat i.e. actually getting back into netball & not really knowing anyone in the sport. Although there were groups of players from the same team who stuck together, no one knew everyone which meant everyone was really friendly and I just felt like I could chat with anyone really!
Whilst I’m all for a bit of competition, as it was a casual league with no serious point scoring going down, it was all very lighthearted which is exactly what you want when you’re getting back into a sport. I never really felt like I was rubbish or letting anyone down.
In a team, you don’t really get a chance to try other positions but as it was all super casj, as long as the bib was available, you could play it! Whilst I realised I am a TERRIBLE defender, at least I tried it to know that I don’t want to do it again! Variety is the spice of life and all that.
A couple of girls mentioned about playing for a team. At first I feigned enthusiasm, however in my head I was thinking “oh it’s x amount of miles from my house”, “I need to fork out for a kit myself?!” and “I need to register with Netball England?! Can’t be bothered”. If I was that fussed, I would have driven / bought kit / registered but I realised that whilst I didn’t love it enough to commit to seriously playing week in week out with a team, I really enjoyed the 8 weeks of meeting new people, re-kindling an interest in sport and generally being outside on a Summers evening! I’d definitely recommend it and would 100% look into taking part again this year.
These are sessions are held by England Netball and available across the country. You can read more about them here.