We all want a sense of belonging, to know we fit in somewhere. A lot of teenagers feel a disconnect with the world. I recall feeling like I didn’t really belong to any group and I spent a lot of my high school years drifting between friendship groups looking for a landing pad. One thing to make us feel connected is to belong to a team sport – there’s loads of research to back this up (here’s a couple article 1 and article 2 )
Following a team sport also generates a sense of belongingness and a feeling of having found your place in the world. Having grown up as the child of immigrants, team sport was not really on their radar. Neither of my older sister’s participated in any sport, my father only watched the horse racing on t.v., so I was quite confused about the rules surrounding pretty much any sport.
My foray into Netball
When I was 14, coach decided to put me on the netball team. Not just any netball team, the A team, that played against other high schools in our district. I remember my first (and only) inter-school competition. I joined the other girls in the change room, they were all giggling and gossiping and I stood around smiling and trying to blend in. I put on my team colours and got on the bus to head out to the opposing team’s home ground.
On the bus one of the girls asked what position I was playing. Centre, I replied. I had no idea what that meant and when she looked at me with total disbelief my heart literally sank. She asked if I knew the rules and I shook my head. The rest of the trip I was drilled in the rules of the game by the rest of the team. Most of which was ‘pass the ball’, ‘don’t move your feet when you have the ball’ and most importantly “don’t mess up our game!!” – no pressure.
Didn’t really help with my need to belong. Back at school coach put me back in Track. He pointed at a faint strip in the grass in the distance and said, run and keep running until you hit that line. I did. I won. And there was the start of my love of running, something I could do without having to learn too many rules. Best of all, no girls screaming at me to “stop standing there and pass the bloody ball, you idiot.”
So, onto Rugby. I’ve been spending time with a new man 🙂 He’s from Sydney (they’re all nuts for Rugby). I’m originally from Melbourne (we’re all nuts for the AFL – well except me. The whole town literally shuts down for the Grand Final in September, hell, they even have a public holiday for it. Actually, they also have a public holiday for a horse race! Starting to wonder why I left 😛 )
Anyway, yesterday we (the new man and I) were on a date or hanging out together (is it still called dating after a couple of months? I’m never sure about these things). Plan was to go to a craft-beer festival (yes I know, this is a health related blog, why is beer even mentioned here? Ahem, have you looked at the second word in my blog title? Healthywildand50plus? Ok, so yeah – beer festival). Except we didn’t have tickets and it was sold out. Who knew right? A sold-out beer festival!!
At a loss for what to do, he suggested we head to a sports bar and watch the Rugby game. I’m very much a go with the flow kinda gal, so I’m like ‘sure, sounds good’. We landed in front of a big screen in time for the national anthem – New Zealand All Blacks v Australia (Bledisloe Cup Final). Then the Haka from the N.Z. players. I do love a good Haka (if you don’t know what that is go here All Blacks perform the Haka , have a look, then come back. I’ll wait for you).
The only sports I tend to watch are the World Cup Soccer, bit of the Olympics, Basketball and I have a fondness for American Baseball (go Red Sox!!) and I’m partial to the Rose Bowl. Rugby has not quite made the list, until now. Great game, the All Blacks annihilated the Aussies – literally smashed us. The final score was NZ 36 Oz 0
Kinda made me feel much better about my one and only netball fail 😛