The First Blog Post - Why Unify?
The first uniform
When I was 4 years old, after sitting in the rain and cold all day watching my sister at a netball carnival, I proclaimed to my parents that I was “never going to play netball, ever”. I learnt a very valuable lesson that day to never say never and a few years later, the opposite of that statement happened – I was obsessed. I remember the first time down at my local courts that I completely fell in love with this game and my 7-year-old stubborn self had already decided netball was going to be a huge part of my life from here on in. The first team I played for was Connells Point Lilac – with a sky blue pleated skirt and white polo shirt – I thought I had made it big time. It was one of the first moments where I remember feeling truly proud to be part of something.
The first representative uniform
That feeling was something that really stuck with me from then on in. I would chase uniforms because I loved that feeling of being part of a team, working hard, competing to be the best and achieving. My sights were set then on my first representative side – St George Netball. I would see my sisters getting dressed in this seriously bright red and white uniform with odd patterns, and I just knew I needed to be part of this. I went on to represent St George from U11’s through to State League 1 – I went the whole roller coaster ride with St George. I was part of teams that lost 30 out of 30 games at a State Age to captaining State League Premiership winning teams and everything in between. I went from the pleated “red skirts” U11’s team, to the body suit, through to the dress that the Association still currently wears. The uniform developed over time, which allowed us to play a lot more comfortably, faster and focus on the game…but that sense of being unified was never lost.
The first state uniform
One week down at State League, I saw the NSW State Team warming up in their blue uniforms. Everything about them oozed success, all in formation in the warmup, all in the same uniform from top to toe. Again, I had that same gut feeling where I just knew I had to be part of that. To this day, this was the most nerve-wracking moment for me trialling for my first state team. Over 300 girls from around the state and only 12 spots up for grabs. I genuinely never expected to make it past Phase 1. But after 4 Phases, I found myself in the team. Getting the call to say I had made it remains one of my best memories. I don’t remember exactly what was said, but I remember thinking ‘this is what happens when you truly dedicate yourself to something’. The hundreds of goals I would shoot per day in the backyard, the training, the unwavering dedication I had to this sport paid off – and that was just the beginning. What was to come from there was some of the toughest training I have ever done in my life, immense pressure to perform, but also the chance to be part of a team that was completely dedicated to one another. We went on to win 6 out of 6 National titles together, one of the most successful NSW teams in history. I remember before each Grand Final we would talk about the honour of wearing the NSW dress and how we are not only playing for ourselves, but more importantly, for our teammates and for all the people who trialled wanting to wear this dress too. In some of those dying seconds of the match, I am positive it was that honour and pride that lifted our team each time to the win and that mentality that we would do whatever it takes to win, for ourselves and each other.
The first Netball business
So, Why Unify? I want to give back to the sport that has given me more than just a hobby or something to do on the weekends. This sport has taught me resilience, tenacity, that if you are focused and disciplined you will succeed. It has taught me to work with a team and the value of being a good team member, how to take criticism and make it constructive. It has given me confidence to know that I can get what I want if I work hard and smart. It has given me some of my greatest friends. You can’t put a price on the lessons learnt playing sport or the experiences it gives you, specifically team sport – and Unify Netball is all about enabling young people coming through to share the same experiences I did, to equip the volunteers with systems that make their lives easier and to assist the sport of netball in gaining more exposure on a professional level.
Through Unify, I want:
- Players to take the court in quality uniforms that make them feel proud to be part of something.
- Coaches to have the resources available to them so that they feel supported when coaching a team at any age.
- Managers to be able to focus on the game, not having to stress about placing orders or chase payments all season.
- Committee members to focus on growing the game, not wasting money on holding huge amounts of stock, or having volunteers spend countless hours worrying about uniforms.
I hope you will come along for the ride with us – whether that be through ordering you uniform, accessories, booking in a coaching clinic or following our story on the blog. Unify Netball hopes to inspire the next generation of Netballers so that they too can share the amazing experiences that I have had through this sport. One quote that was always on my wall as I was growing up was “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” and Unify Netball’s goal is to allow you and your team to go as far as possible.