Netball has been in my life since I was seven years old and it has honestly been a horrific journey for me to get to where I am today.
I first realised that my club only saw me as a player, rather than a human being, when I was seven years old and I was being let down. At every single game, I sat at the side-line watching my teammates improving and having fun. I can’t count the number of times I wanted to just give up nor the number of times I cried on the way home from another humiliating game where I never played. However, rather than giving up, I carried on and I tried even harder at my training sessions.
You’d hope that would have been. When I tried harder, automatically my netball ‘career’ would improve. Nope, not for me. I was moved down from my team at the next try-outs. All my friends stayed together and I was put with people I’d never met before. I know this sounds shallow, but the only good thing was that I was one of the better players and actually played in matches. This gave me a massive boost in confidence. However, we were still losing every game. The main problem was our shooters. They were amazing people, but they didn’t do much practise outside of training.
I decided that I’d had enough of losing. I spent the whole of that summer learning how to shoot. My team started to win and I was so happy with all my new friends.
At the next try-outs, I was shocked: I got moved up. Finally, I had been noticed. The new team was incredible but, once again, I knew no one. It was so much harder to make friends this time because the whole team had already played together for a year. I was the newbie who no one wanted. Even still, I kept practising. My team did really well and I was finally feeling good and playing well. The only problem was that I wasn’t close to anyone on the team.
In the following season I moved up an age group. This is where things went downhill. The team were still winning, but I began to slack off with my practise. My stats were honestly shocking. However, instead of pulling myself together, I just cried for most of the year when my stats got worse and worse. We went to Regional Qualifiers and didn’t get through. which was a major set-back for the whole team. After that, no one really bothered trying. I, regretfully, gave up.
At the next try-outs, I got moved down again. I was so close to quitting, but something made me stay. My friends had been moved down as well to make room for better players, but they didn’t seem to care but, I did. The coaches knew it. Over summer, I did some intense training, working on my foot work, ball placement, and my shots. When I came back, I was happy with my team. We weren’t the best by far and we weren’t even being put forward for Regional Qualifiers. Our coaches didn’t really care about us and we’d only trained together once.
Then, I heard that someone on the higher team had quit and there was an extra place. I knew I was being watched by the coaches so I tried hard in every training session.
A month ago, I was invited to one of their training sessions and was asked to be on their team. My team is incredible and I’m finally happy. I have Regional Qualifiers next week and I honestly think we have a shot to get through. I’m so excited!
So, overall, I hope, if nothing else, that this story inspires you to never give up! No matter how hopeless it seems, this netball club has taught me more than I thought. It’s taught me how to build myself back up, be a team player, make new friends and to love myself when it feels like no one else does.
Just remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going (Joseph P. Kennedy).
I hope this helped :) Have a great day!
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.