After more than 30 years of hitting the court, winding up with several nasty rolled ankles and an excruciating broken finger in 2015 (yes that did make writing difficult), I am unlikely to play netball or basketball again.
It has been a global journey – from playing for Yanchep Primary School in gold T-shirts and pleated brown skirts at netball land (Kingsley courts near Wanneroo) when the area surrounding was thick bush not houses in the early 1980s; to school teams; Saturdays in Kununurra; Lords after work in my 20s; exhibition matches in London; UK teams in the counties; the Australian Association in Hong Kong; and the fantastic Mods at Palmyra and Vixens down at Lakeside, Bibra Lake, in recent years.
Playing competitive sport has taught so much….about life. Here is a list:
1. Doesn't matter how good your defense is, if your shooters can’t convert you are never going to win. This reminds me of some clients – their factories are ship shape and products first class, but competitors (with inferior products) have out marketed and out sold them. IE scored more goals.
2. If someone is a ball hogger, the team is more vulnerable.
3. Being the prettiest doesn't count – fitness, hard work, skill and effort does.
4. Oldies can be chocoblock with tricks and tips, and often position their bodies cleverly.
5. Young players are less likely to shine if bullied and occasionally captains and coaches need to step in to stamp out any nonsense.
6. Mostly bitching came from girls who weren’t confident or happy within themselvesbut, very rarely, some women just seem to be born nasty.
7. Even good women can behave badly, everyone needs to help them get back on the right track.
8. Confidence can produce miracles.
9. No place for self delusion. You can’t hide from lack of skill. If you are out of your depth, not to worry there is a place for you, at a lower division.
10. You can forgive a slower player if their hands are safe.
11. A highly skilled team working well can bring home the cup.
12. It’s a nicer game if everyone plays by the rules but every now and again there are just some horrible players and there is something wrong with them – you have to sit out the game and wait for things to pass.
13. Anxiety passes and is sometimes good.
14. Being flat footed can be disastrous.
15. You have no idea how good someone is, until they hit the court running.
16. You have to give it your best shot until the siren, then move onto the next game.
17. Momentum is crucial.
18. A good pass out in front is a beautiful thing.
19. A crap pass behind is annoying.
20. The game is played differently all over the world and you need to adapt and respect each place. In Kununurra it was practically a full blown contact sport in 1995, while in the UK it was unacceptable to touch the other player.
21. If you outplay a girl on court, she is not necessarily going to like you and that is ok.
22. As you age, flexibility is key. In my early 20s at GD, I could often shut down a GA and could turn games but in my 40s (playing with girls in their 20s) I was grateful to be in the team and kept my spot by being crafty in attack.
23. Positivity is everything.
24. Negativity destroys chances.
25. You are responsible for setting high standards of fair play.
26. Many Aboriginal women in Western Australia are gold: the best kind of women, strong, funny, loyal and talented, and thanks to sport it was my privilege to know and play with many.
27. Umpires are essential otherwise there is chaos. Always easy to criticize umpires, or anything from the outside, unless you do it. A stint netball umpiring was a life changing leadership lesson for me.
28. Women need time to have babies and should be welcomed back and encouraged as they regain their fitness. It you do that you will have a stronger team for a longer period of time.
29. Women are often let down by babysitters and have to bring their children to the game, and everyone needs to support the mother by welcoming her children.
30. Silence is often best.
31. Winging about team mates never helps.
32. Winning is more fun.
33. There are NO excuses for being late to a big match.
34. Your body ages, enjoy every game while you can. Life is short.
35. Many taller players out rebounded me (no matter how high I tried to jump) and many shorter players were quicker, and that is life.
36. There is no perfect player. Even stars drop the ball.
37. On court, no one cares what suburb you live in, who you know or what car you drive. They are concerned about reliability, natural talent and effort, and that is how life should be.
By Perth Media CEO Cate Rocchi