America: You need to play NETBALL!

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November 13, 2013 by ukdesperatehousewifeusa

This weekend I played at the CallidusCloud U.S. Open Netball Championships.

All the time in the USA I get the response ‘What’s netball?’ when I say I play it. I say it’s like basketball, but you can’t run with the ball, there is no backboard when you shoot and it’s mainly played by girls. But there is much more to it than that. So, America, get ready to learn about netball, because you need to have netball in your life….!

Me as Wing Defence at the USA Open Championships

Me as Wing Defence at the USA Open Championships

There is such a thing called Netball America, so yes, it does exist in this country. But it needs to played more! It’s an awesome workout and a fabulous team sport! Netball is played in the UK by school girls with seven players on a side, similar to basketball except that a player receiving the ball must stand still until they have passed it to another player. It is fast, furious and competitive. Netball promotes confidence, teamwork and health. My body is aching after a weekend spent playing 8 games – it is a total body workout, believe me! And I thought I was fit! I love a team sport. There’s something about creating a bond, especially playing with people you’ve never met before 🙂

The game in action!

The game in action!

The Open Championships had all ages, all races and all genders. Yes, men play too! With Caribbean teams, Canadians, South African, American and Brits, it was a mix of playing styles, cultures and attitudes. Interesting all round…

Games are played on a rectangular court with raised goal rings at each end. Each team attempts to score goals by passing a ball down the court and shooting it through its goal ring. Players are assigned specific positions, which define their roles within the team and restrict their movement to certain areas of the court. During general play, a player with the ball can hold onto it for only three seconds before shooting for a goal or passing to another player. The winning team is the one that scores the most goals. Netball games are 60 minutes long. Variations have been developed to increase the game’s pace and appeal to a wider audience.

Netball is most popular in Commonwealth nations and specifically in schools. According to the International Netball Federation (INF), netball is played by more than 20 million people in more than 80 countries. And it’s just breaking through in America, thanks to Sonya Ottaway, President at Netball America, who is persisting in pushing the game into American schools.

I love netball. I so hope that it becomes a sport of choice in American schools and colleges. Right now, it’s hard to find a game to play in the region – my team covers DC, Maryland and Virginia and it is hard to find courts to accommodate the requirements of netball. But I will continue to play when I can, and continue to sing netball’s praises far and wide.

The New York Thunderbirds

The New York Thunderbirds

For the record, my women’s team, the New York Thunderbirds came fourth in and the mixed team I played in, the New York Liberties, came second in the U.S. Open Championships. Long live netball!

Go on, give it a try…..you know you want to! 🙂

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