Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Netball colours

Up until the past year or so, the highlight of my sporting achievement was clear. Admittedly, it's now being surpassed by running a marathon*, but for many a year one thing stood out.

At school I was awarded both netball and rounders colours. That was actually not a bad haul at all, and a hell of a lot more than most people at my school. Of course there were the scary hockey people who were in a league of their own, but in the second tier as it were, not many people got both.

I don't think you got colours just for making the team once, it was more of an award for consistency and dedication (possibly alternatively known as being cr@p, but have nothing better to do if the team had a sudden injury crisis). I don't remember huge numbers of people getting colours, although I could be wrong.

It occurs to me typing this that maybe not every school had this sort of thing. Basically you could get all sorts of badges and awards to pin proudly onto your school uniform. If memory serves me correctly, some of them were fabric strips in different colours (hence the name), and some of them were badges with the name of what they were awarded for on them. I think I was the only person I remember who managed the combination of netball, rounders and library! Library was definitely a pin badge (and not coloured), and I think from memory that rounders might have been a badge. How proud I was of my little fabric strips and badges.

I often wonder where things went wrong. I was overweight, yes, but I enjoyed sport and put effort into it. I was never the fat kid who would "forget" their gym kit or fake injury to get out of PE. (Well, unless it was hockey, and a ball fortuitously hit my foot at great speed enabling me to claim the pain was a little worse than it was to get out of the rest of the class). My school reports never said that I was good at sport, but they did at least say I tried hard, which was the main thing. I never expected to be naturally gifted (even now, to be honest, I'm impressed that I'm fairly average at running, and I don't ever expect to be fantastic, so average is an achievement as far as I'm concerned). But at least my effort and commitment was recognised.

I think the defining moment was when I changed schools and everything became a lot more intense, competitive and compulsory. I didn't mind sport if I had some element of choice about what I did, but I hated being forced into a cross country run or being made to play hockey when I far preferred netball and would have happily volunteered to do that.

My size (or my height at least) gave me a bit of an advantage for netball, and when I played a position that let me stick to 1/3 of the court, I didn't need to run too far so it wasn't too bad. I liked it.

And then I stopped playing it. At least 10 years ago. More than that, in all likelihood.

But today, netball might be on the horizon again. I went to a meeting today about a netball team that they want to start at work. Obviously, with my newly acquired reputation as a super fit gym bunny my name was near the top of the list of people who got asked, and I think it will be fun. I'm not going to attempt it before the marathon, clearly (all that twisting may well play havoc with my knee), but it might be a fun way to add some variety to my exercise regime over winter while also getting me brownie points at work for volunteering.

However, I'm trying to block out the prospect of wearing a netball skirt...

*On that subject, last night I was pondering post Berlin marathon plans, and looked up details of the Shakespeare Marathon next year if I don't get into FLM. Then I realised that if any of my old PE teachers were to scan the results (it's their local race, so they may well come across them) and see my name on it, they'd probably die of shock!


Blogger kathrynoh said...

I was one of those scary hockey girls!

12:52 AM  
Blogger K said...

I WASN'T one of those scary hockey girls. I was a scared hockey girl lurking somewhere a long way from the ball and hoping not to have to do anything.

Our school had colours: instead of a navy blazer, you got to wear a red one. And prefects had ribbon stripes around their sleeves. I didn't get either of these, and, you know, it still rankles slightly! (Oh well, Harry Potter didn't get made a prefect either.)

10:23 AM  

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