“You’ll never regret playing sport,” my dad used to tell me when I wanted to stay home and watch Saddle Club instead of going to netball practice.
“Yeah, yeah,” I’d snap back. “You’re just saying that to make me go.”
Truth was, I couldn’t really give a stuff about Saddle Club. I was scared.
The week before, I’d just started at a new netball club and I didn’t know anyone. On the first day of trials, my dad watched from the sidelines on a 30-something degree day as I played my heart out with a bunch of other 12-year-old girls I’d never met.
While they chatted and laughed in between breaks, I’d go back up on the hill and sit with my dad so as not to be on my own.
Eventually, I made it back out onto the court. When the letter arrived with my name on it in the post, telling me I'd made it into the C squad, I was thrilled. From there, I went to every practice. I made friends, and won some matches. I lost more, but after each one, Dad would tell me what a great job I'd done, and we'd go home and make a toastie together.
Fifteen years later, and those words Dad first told me about playing sport still ring true.
Because at various moments in my life - after high school, coming back from travelling overseas, and moving to a new city for my first real job - I've thought about giving up netball.
I'm too busy. I've got too many other time commitments. I want to hang out with my boyfriend on the weekend. I don't want to get up early on Saturday mornings anymore.
There were a million reasons I could have made the decision to hang up my trainers. But there were also a million more to lace them up and get back in the game.
When I came back from gap year, it'd been two years since I'd played school netball. I missed it, but more than anything, I missed being a part of a team.