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  • Isabella Naiduki

Bibs & Balls

I joined a netball team. It's not the best of teams, it probably is the worst of teams, but who's keeping check anyway. I hate losing, by now if you have been following my blog and writing (read that as ranting) you'd know that I tend to get a little competitive. Actually scratch that I get super competitive. I'm the parent who refuses to let their kids win because in my own warped way of reasoning, it's my way of teaching them life skills so that they grow up knowing that not everyone will be a winner and those who lose are losers. It's a good thing that my husband is Yoda in disguise, I say disguise because he is taller and pinewood beige in complexion so the resemblance kinda ends with just the temperament. I'm digressing... Back to Yoda, he brings the balance to the force and teaches our children how to play fair and win/lose graciously. I'm the one who stands on the side calling referees wankers, I also get banned from school sports days by my children, I'm working on that.So my netball initiation - I say initiation because prior to my first game of the season, I'd never played a game of netball IN MY LIFE. Actually that's a lie, I tried out for the Under 9 netball team for Veiuto Primary and the stupid c*nt of a teacher in charge said I lacked the coordination for team sport, so I gave her the middle finger secretly as I walked off the court, my class teacher saw me and gave me a mother of hiding. This was Fiji early 90s, I'm not sure if this would still happen today. Revel in the hiding-less education children. Anyway, so my decision to take the sport up again 25 years later came about because I wanted to meet new people and make new friends. Pretty selfish reasons, but when asked by other team members I had a memorised answer which was, "I'm really interested in learning how to play netball and learning anything and everything I can about the sport", that was a lie but they don't know that. December seemed like the best time to join and start a new season with a bunch of strangers. First game I turn up and it's at a sports centre, great I thought, indoor gym so no need to wear layers because it's winter, I mean who plays outside in winter? They do. British people do. I have no idea why they do it, but they do. Second game I turned up with 5 layers of tops, three leggings and two pairs of socks. I also wrapped my head in a scarf and wore a warm hat over. Short of wrapping myself in my duvet, I considered myself well and truly ready for the game with sufficient protection from the elements. First quarter in, I was dying, and I mean life flashing before my eyes dying, I even felt light-headed & nauseous as I think my body overheated from all the layers. So second game with my not-so-much strangers anymore team and I'm peeling off clothes on the court whilst a group of not so hunky looking men playing football on the other end look on like I was Ka from Jungle Book shedding my skin.

I played basketball in high school, I wasn't exceptional at it, pretty average and I only joined because two of my best friends played (I swear there is a pattern to my joining team sports, I seriously must consider if I may be a low-key Billy no mates... FECK) but my height helped because I'd just jump straight up and somehow find that my arms were long enough to tap the ball away. So I thought what could be hard about netball, similar rules must apply. I was wrong. Netball is confusing. You jump up, you catch the ball, you land and stand there panicking the shit out of life trying to figure out who to throw this damn ball at. The entire time I get the ball, the only thing going through my head is... don't bounce the ball stupid, don't bounce the ball and yes stupid bounces the ball, because logical and rational thinking is not my forte, I like to live life on the edge.

First season in, we pretty much sucked. Refer to picture below to see how we can't even get a team photo right... It didn't help that we decided to call ourselves Bibs & Balls. Initially general consensus was to call ourselves White Roses but I brought the point up about that not being very inclusive considering I'm black, I couldn't exactly be all enthusiastic about that being our team name, cheering us on and be all... "Yay! Lets go White Roses even though I'm Black or Brown or just not White!" It just didn't roll off the tongue right. So we settled on Bibs & Balls in the end. Either that or Balls Deep. I preferred the latter, had more pizzazz to it. I was outvoted.

Bibs & Balls Take 2 - Fijian In The UK

Team sport dynamics is interesting, there will always be an asshole who tries to take over. I know this because I have been known to be that asshole. The thing about being that asshole though is, if you want to take over then you better be good at whatever it is you're taking over with. Our asshole isn't. I sometimes feel that she is playing a completely different game altogether then we are, many a times on the court I have found myself having to talk down the devil on my left shoulder and not call said asshole a c*nt, because not everyone can take that kind of criticism and these games are meant to be friendly matches where people play friendly games and generally be friendly to each other. Joining this team has also made me realise that I'm not really a great team sport person but I'm working on that because I just signed myself up for season 2 AND we won our game this week. So to me, our team no longer sucks. We might just be the underdog of the season. We couldn't be it last season because most weeks we were borrowing players from other teams to make up a complete team. We have even elected a team captain and have training days. I feel like we should do the Rocky move after our training but my team don't seem like the type of people who watch Rocky and I must maintain this persona of being the calm, collected Isabella. I must for the love of the game. Actually that's a lie, netball is shit, but it's a fun way to spend two hours away from Yoda and his beige children.

Bella xx

P.S. Turbans are the way forward on bad hair days!

Fijian In The UK Turban Style

#FijianWoman #Netball #ArmyLife #ArmyWife


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