Have you ever heard of netball? I hadn’t either until today when I participated in my first netball game!
As you can see from this video, netball is like basketball, except that it is a bit lamer. Well, for the sake of objectivity, let’s just say that netball isn’t a contact sport. The premise of netball is similar to basketball- get the ball through the hoop- but there are LOTS of rules in netball that distinguish it from my favorite American sport (to watch, not play- March Madness!).
For example: You can’t dribble the ball, and when the ball is in your possession, you aren’t allowed to move your feet. You’re only allowed to hold onto the ball for three seconds. Depending on your designated position, you can only step in certain portions of the court. And, if you’re defending, you have to be at least 3 feet away from your offender. Got all that? Watch these ladies play- they know what they’re doing!
Netball does have its origins in basketball. When basketball was introduced to England from the United States (though, did you know that basketball was actually invented by a Canadian? Further, the same guy that invented the football helmet? Whoa), it was not embraced by traditional Englishmen, but rather, netball became, according to the official Netball Australia website, “very popular with the ladies.” However, the “skirts, bustle backs, nipped waists and button up shoes” worn by women at the time (1895) made it difficult for them to run, dribble, and make long passes- hence netball was born! Check out this historic picture from the Netball Australia website:
Looks like fun, huh?
Anyway, the rest is history. Netball made its way to most Commonwealth countries, and it is particularly big in Australia. There is a Netball World Championships that takes place every 4 years, and netball is now an Olympic-recognized sport, free for inclusion in future games; planning has started for the 2012 Olympic games so keep an eye out!
Netball may not be as exciting or aggressive as basketball, but I still had fun playing this popular Australian sport. Not only did I not have to worry about getting hurt on the court, but netball must also have the shallowest learning curve of any sport I have ever attempted. Either that, or I’m just a natural. Looking forward to next Thursday’s match!