Tag Archives: women in sport

Netball in Berlin

11 Jun

Someone recently asked me if the reason why I was playing netball so often these days was because the club enters overseas tournaments. It is definitely one of the reasons but not the only reason! Last weekend we were in Berlin to take part in the 2nd International Mixed Tournament organised by Berlin Netball Club.

It turned out to be a bit of a stretch to get the minimum of seven players for the tournament so in addition to myself, Lorna, Jess and Sarah H from Zurich, we managed to beg, borrow and steal Sarah G from Geneva Netball, Elina from Zug Netball and two Berlin players, Danielle and Lili, who had only recently moved to Berlin.

Pink Power: (L to R) Sarah H, Lorna, Danielle, Elina, Jess, me Sarah G and Lili

I began to think if our whole campaign was completely jinxed when half of us got lost in a park on the way to the tournament venue(!) but after finally arriving, meeting our new team mates and changing into our bright pink tops for the first time, we were all ready to get stuck in and enjoy ourselves.

Our first match was against Amsterdam. It wasn’t an easy start at all. By the time we had found our feet we were already 5 goals down. The guy who was marking me had arms like an organutan and was ridiculously quick but it was a good game and we managed to pull back some goals so it definitely wasn’t a white wash.

Next we played Berlin 1. Another hard game and the favourites to win the tournament overall. It was 5-3 at half time, which really showed how hard we were working and that we were already beginning to gel as a team. At half time they made some substitutions and ended up winning the game.

You might think that after 2 losses in our first 2 games that we might have been feeling demotivated. Instead we were radiating positivity (possibly because of the pink tops).

The next few games we were able to chalk up some convincing wins against Berlin 2, Brussels and Hamburg. It was at this point that we collectively realised that we had a very realistic chance of finishing in fourth place. So we decided to keep our heads and aim for 4th which would be an incredible achievement considering we had never played together.

Our hopes and dreams were changed completely when we played Stockholm, a tricky team that I remember playing earlier in the year in Copenhagen, who are well-rehearsed and had some good male players as well. We were leading them at half time reasonably comfortably. In the second half, I was studying the clock, counting down the minutes as I realised that they would have to score 6 goals in 2 minutes and there was no way that we were going to allow them to do that!

We wrapped up with wins against Bielfeld and Paderborn and secured 3rd place. An achievement that we had to pinch ourselves to believe. To celebrate we headed to an amazing cafe that sold cheesecake and ate them in the sunshine in the park – not the same one that half of us got lost in! In fairness, I would have suggested we eat cheesecake if we would have come last place.

Grinners are winners! A pre-cheesecake selfie!

The icing on the cake was at the awards ceremony in the evening. We were suprised to hear that we had been voted “Best Team of the Tournament” by the umpires and match officials because of how friendly and sportman(-woman?)like we were. It was a great end to a great day.

Prizes and well-deserved drinks!

I have now been to Berlin twice and not seen one tourist attraction; the first time I was at a conference with work and I didn’t leave the hotel. So it looks like I will have to go back to play netball in Berlin next year as well.

Thanks to all my fabulous team mates Lorna, Jess, Sarah G, Sarah H, Elina, Danielle and Lili, who are not only fantastic netballers but were great fun off the court as well. Special mentions to Lili, who at 11 was the youngest player in the competition and is a superstar, and her parents and younger brother who supported her and us throughout the whole competition.

Team work makes the dream work!

Netball in Copenhagen

17 Apr

I’m just about fully recovered from a weekend in Copenhagen playing netball with Z├╝rich Netball Club, who I decided to join in January. I worked out that it had been almost 15 years since I had been on a netball tour which is one of the scariest things that I have heard in a long time.

We arrived at the hotel with the news that they had overbooked the twin beds in the hotel so we had to make do with double beds. This was slightly daunting considering that some of us didn’t know each other well. There wasn’t a great deal that we could do about it and I was so tired I could have slept standing up in a broom cupboard.

On the Saturday we headed to the venue. The hall was packed with teams from Sweden, Holland, France and Germany. It was a mixed tournament so it wasn’t a surprise to see a few men there but we were the only team to only have women playing. I know from experience that its not always an advantage to have men on a netball team but it would turn out that these men had played before and were pretty handy on the court.

The tournament was opened by Zindyi Mandela, the South Africa ambassdor in Denmark, who I later found out was the daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela. She gave a great speech about how important it is for women to be involved in team sport. How amazing is it that she took the time out of her day to come and wish a group of expats all the best for the day!

I had completely forgotten how physically demanding a sport netball is. Playing competitively is so different to training with your team mates. My legs were almost dead after the first few games. Luckily the organisers provided snacks and cake to help with blood sugar levels.

We played 8 games in total and, although we didn’t end up winning the competition, the games that we did lose were by very small margins. After the prize giving we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and change before a buffet dinner at a local restaurant with the other teams and then onto a trendy cocktail bar called Curfew for some celebratory drinks.

I woke up the next day still shattered which is yet another reminder that I need to improve my fitness. I could barely walk up stairs for the next few days. After a late-ish breakfast we went on a free walking tour, visited The Little Mermaid Statue and headed back to the airport.

Thank you to my team mates Claudia, Lauren, Lorna, Kim, Arran, Abby, Chelsea, Emma and Konio for a great weekend of netball and for such a great time. I’m hoping for an equally great weekend in another European city with the girls soon!