When I was a child, I was eager to try any sports and hobbies. From figure-skating to horse riding and football, anything that was available in my home city, I went for it. Most hobbies came and went, only horses got me hooked. With horses, I felt a connection and comfortable around them. They didn’t make me feel a failure – and there was no need for being competitive.
For competitive I was not. In football games, I was hoping for a draw so that neither team would have to lose and hence be disappointed. Needless to say, I wasn’t a great player. And we lost a lot. With my lack of competitiveness, and my lack of skills in football, I was not a very popular team mate. I didn’t last very long, and developed a fear or distaste to team sports as a follow up.
Since those times, I’ve kept the eagerness for trying new sports – and the same reluctance for team sports. I’ve wanted to do sports for myself, for my well-being – not for winning anything. And I’ve avoided any team sports for the fear of failing again. Knowing, that I would not be the star of the team, I’ve not wanted to cause any team the harm of having to drag me alone. Nor have I wanted to experience that feeling, the feeling of being unwanted, a failure, a loser.
Until last year. In the past years I’ve purposefully tackled many past obstacles and faced many fears. So last year, when a friend kept talking about her team sport passion, netball, I decided to give it a go. Somehow it felt adept to start with something I had never even heard of before, it being obvious there should be no expectations with my skills and capacity. Another reason for getting the courage to give netball a shot, was my friend’s comments on how friendly the sport is and how she’s made most of her friends on the court.
So I went, and just as with horses, got instantly hooked. It proved difficult, challenging and absolutely exhausting – but fun. So much so that the couch advised me to smile less and play tougher. Nowadays I can play tough and rough – but I keep smiling. I can’t help it, I’m just having the time of my life on the court, running for the ball.
I’ve overcome yet another fear and I’m extremely proud of myself. I’ve joined the Kiwi team in Singapore to play in the league, and I’m not afraid of any or our opponents – no matter how amazing players they are. I enjoy learning from the defeats and keep trying my best. And I do enjoy the team spirits in netball – how everyone claps for all the successful shoots, cheers up for the good tries, and congratulates the opponents and umpires no matter which way the game went. I have learned that competitiveness doesn’t need to be something negative – I do want to win, do my best for our team to win, but no one gets upset for a loss. It’s a true team sport – getting a good exercise, having fun and cheering together, to losses and victories alike.