Like many Caymanian children, netball was a constant in my childhood. Many physical education lessons were spent playing netball (although not very well) in the hot sun.
My first real netball match against another primary school saw us losing without scoring a single point — oh, the humiliation! In fact, it wasn’t until I’d been playing for more than three years that I was on a team that won a match.
Although I wasn’t very good at the sport, I fell in love with it. I enjoy being part of a team and learning all my teammates' tricks and things like who was better at jumping and who was the fastest.
Being part of Cayman's national squad since I was 13 has thoroughly immersed me into the netball community and I couldn’t be happier. The senior team members are always patient with us younger players, even when they’re tearing us apart in "friendly" practice matches.
During my years playing netball, I’ve met so many wonderful people I wouldn't have otherwise — coaches, teammates and those who watch us play. For that, I’ll always be incredibly grateful.
However, the social aspect isn’t the only reason I enjoy netball. It’s hard not to feel cheerful after a fruitful training session. The exhilaration of a real match — everyone’s eyes on you while we work as a part of a cohesive system — is like nothing else. Then there's also the immense satisfaction I get when performing a difficult move or getting one over on the other team.
The positive impact on mental health from regular exercise has been shown through numerous studies, but even without the research, I’m sure any netballer would tell you the sport does wonders for your endorphin levels.
In August, I’m off to the University of British Columbia at its Okanagan campus in Kelowna. Netball is not as common in Canada as it is here, but hopefully if I take a ball with me, I can introduce the sport to my soon-to-be classmates and make some friends along the way.
Charlotte Dowell is a 2018 Dart High School Scholar attending Cayman Prep and High School.
This article was originally published in the May/June 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.
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