Thanks to the Just project, run by Harborough District Council, I have been given the chance to play netball for the first time in 30 years.
As a sports journalist, I’m always writing about the national and global stuff and rarely have the chance to make a difference locally. So I decided I wanted to do just that and approached my local council for advice and to offer my services – although I didn’t know in what capacity.
This was at the end of November. I met with SDOs Emma and Hollie and was glad to learn that in the New Year they were launching a new scheme aimed at girls 14+ and women and designed to get them into sport. Sounded just up my street.
My first idea was to sample each sport and blog about it – I said I would promote the scheme to as many people as I could. Unfortunately, the foot surgery (if you haven’t heard about this, read about it here) meant that some of the sports were out.
So I decided instead to concentrate on one sport and put my all into it. I had played netball for school – yes, I was the shortest goalkeeper in the history of goalkeepers – so netball it was.
The date was set. Tuesday 19th January. It had just turned ridiculously cold and the snow from the weekend was still lurking around the edges of everything. Not to worry, I thought, nice warm sports hall, no bother. I found out the day before I was due to play that it was outside! OUTSIDE? But once I’ve decided to do something, I generally go through with it, so with woolly tights under the trackies and many, many top layers, I set out to Fleckney sports centre.
Unfortunately, everyone else obviously didn’t have “mug” tattooed across their foreheads and the instructor, Val, and I were the only ones who turned up. Val was not chuffed, unsurprisingly, but more displeased that we were due to play outside anyway! We discussed it with the lady who was looking after the sports centre and she outlined some times when the hall was free. At that point we gave up and Val went away to negotiate a change of day and time (and venue) with Emma.
I went home, all dressed up and nowhere to go…….
Don’t worry folks, it gets better. Tune in to part two of “Back to netball – after 30 years”, coming soon.