I like sports. My favourite is extreme butt-sitting. Being a technical sport, it requires performing a unique number of skills whilst perched successfully on a metre-wide couch. There’s the front laptop-balance, the junk food double (chocolate plus ice cream) and for the highest degree of difficulty, the connecting channel leaps. In short, I only exercise to fit into my clothes. Thus, my discovery that Monash has an entire sports precinct was fairly recent. Joining the Monash Sport family as part of the obviously professional mixed netball team “The Wookies” made me question my sanity. I haven’t run for so long since forced under threat of failure in high school PE.
Social netball and competition netball are entirely different beasts. In competition netball, the team arrives early in matching uniforms before a thorough warm-up and team strategy. In social netball… we arrived ten minutes beforehand in a beautiful myriad of black t-shirts and well-worn runners and our only warm-up included a process of elimination to see who would be sacrificed as centre (not me…).
The game of the Wookies vs. the 508s starts with the teams shuffling towards their respective ends of the court (with a few confused detours for the Wookies) and it very quickly becomes clear the two worlds of netball have collided. Our opponents are actually good. Oh shit. They dance around us effortlessly, twirling and NEVER. BLOODY. MISSING. GOALS. Naturally, I have no time to consider this whilst bent over, gasping for air, physically incapable of moving or speaking.
The excitement builds. The suspense is palpable. With the margin only a mere 25 goals, can the Wookies come back and outscore their opponents in the last quarter? No. No they cannot. I wish I could say we lost with dignity and grace, but it is safe to say I lost that battle when the ball rebounded and clobbered me in the face as the two next teams filed into the stadium. And still, despite the misfire passes, the falling and the bad misses at goal, we all shook hands at the end of the game and walked away feeling good… because we knew we would be placed in a low grade and never have to experience that again.