Netball at London 2012?

I loved PE at school. I loved it despite not actually being very good at it. That was despite the fact lessons were only one hour long, most of which was taken up by complaining girls who had forgotten their kit, were ill (again) or who refused to play without their best friend on their team.

This was the only lesson where mucking about was allowed. You didn’t have to read or write anything, just remember to bring your kit.

Occasionally, you might get to do trampolining, or even better, play tennis with the boys.

I loved PE, except when we had to play netball.

Six hundred thousand of you obviously feel otherwise. That’s how many people have signed up in support of a campaign to get netball into the 2012 Olympics.

Right from scrambling for a bib, the letters of which determined just how bearable the next hour would be, I knew netball was not for me. I could only hope and pray the other girls didn’t get there before me and leave me with “GK” – Goal Keeper, the worst position of the lot.

My dislike of the sport probably wasn’t helped by the fact I could never remember where I was allowed to be.

Even if I managed to steal myself a bib that got me into the goal circle, most of my classmates were taller than me. And, of course, on that day when I was allowed to shoot, the goalkeeper turned out to be tallest girl in the whole school. I couldn’t see the hoop, never mind throw a ball through it.

For those of you who don’t share my pain, this campaign, like so many things, began on Facebook.

Since Team Bath goalkeeper Eboni Beckford-Chambers started a group on the social networking site last year, the campaign has made it into the media spotlight.

Famous faces signed up so far include Dame Kelly Holmes, Bryan Robson and Cherie Blair.

According to the website even Gordon Brown wants netball in the Olympics.

Played by over a million women and girls a week in the UK, there seems to be the demand to see women compete at the highest level.

Backing the bid, Holmes was surprised the sport was not already included in the Olympics:

“Netball is one of the most popular team games for women in the world, and is already a core part of the Commonwealth Games”, she said.

By encouraging women to play sport and giving them role models to aspire to, Holmes suggested including netball “would have a huge impact on women everywhere.”

This, I think, is a bit ambitious. However, any opportunity for women to demonstrate their sporting ability and take a step out of the shadow of men’s sport has got to be a good thing.

So do I support the campaign? Yes. Anything which could get people playing sport has to be applauded.

But, should the campaign succeed, will I be watching? Probably not.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s