Monday, May 14, 2012
Finding my Sporting Home
I’m not a netball player. I haven’t been since primary school when it was about numbers as opposed to talent that made up a team. Our team was made up of three or four small schools in the district. We never really trained together as a team. We hardly ever trained at all apart from the occasional throw of the netball at lunch or recess if we didn’t have anything else to do. It was the same for my playing hockey/ minkey… we didn’t really have the numbers to make up a team of girls at our school. In my year level there was me and two other girls. I made up for my lack of talent on the turf with a lot of raw enthusiasm. Once we got to high school the school teams focus was on talent as opposed to enthusiasm. If you didn’t have the best skills, you were left to the sidelines while others were allowed to play. Outside of required PE classes, I didn’t participate in any sports. By year 11, I convinced my mother to allow me to stay home and study instead of going to a swimming or sporting carnival because it was a better use of my time. Plus there was a lot of social issues going on in the background too, but mostly I just didn’t want to be around all that sport-fever. I come from a small town where the sports focus is football, soccer, motor-racing and cricket for the guys and netball and hockey for the girls. Lacking in talent myself, I could have become a supporter, but I never had the urge to go to a game. Most sports bored me. Football and cricket still bore me. I only half-heartedly watch them if I’m at home, spending my time with my father, who watches them. Instead of spending time on the sidelines of a cricket pitch or a football field [apart from backyard games], my childhood instead was spent in the canteens of our local motor racing track with my mother while my father either competed or participated in officiating duties. It probably shaped my thirst for sports that were a little more on the dangerous side. Sports where you cannot have complete control over what the wheels beneath you will do. I know it shaped my attitude towards participating in my local roller derby league on a volunteer/ official basis. I’m not cut out for the actual playing of roller derby. Too many psychological issues hold me back from really getting in there and giving/taking a hit. But it is a place where raw enthusiasm is encouraged. Yes, you have to be a good skater, or better than good, in order to compete, but if you’re willing to learn, people are willing to teach you. I help out in other ways. I don’t have money to give but I do have time. Helping out at league events is a major part of my assistance when I’m not refereeing or officiating. As a referee I am encouraged to skate at all sessions to increase my rules knowledge and skating skills. I’ve found a place where I can call my ‘sporting home’, if such a place exists. How about you?