Back at my old primary school, every year there was an event called the “Western zones”; essentially a multi-day sport contest between the eldest two years of kids from primary schools in the area, the winners of which would go on to represent the region in our city-wide games.
In this, instead of track & field events, we all had to choose two sports to play in from a list of four. There was football (soccer), rugby, netball and volleyball. Now, I’ve never been an athletic person. I’m fat. I always have been. But, that’s a different can of worms. My first year, I chose football and netball. I’d never so much as stepped on a netball court during a casual lunchtime game, so I had no clue what was going on. The one time the ball actually came my way, I did manage to pass it correctly to my teammate, so I guess that went ok.
But when it came to the football, I actually kinda kicked ass. I had chosen football because I genuinely enjoyed it (despite how rarely I played), and netball because I thought I “should”. It’s always been presented as a girls’ game, right? And yet, I was bored stiff during that game. In the football match, I was shooting and passing and shadowing like nobody’s business. Even this one boy, who’d been my “arch enemy” since year 2, commented on how well I was playing (this kid was English, so he was pretty much treated as an authority on the sport). And he sounded surprised.
I know, it was most likely because I’d never once showed any enthusiasm for sport before this at school. But part of me always suspected it was also because I was a girl. Don’t get me wrong, that little bit of encouragement really boosted my confidence for a good while. He’d just sounded a little too amazed, if that makes sense.
Either way, next year I opted for volleyball instead of netball. Would’ve made Sakura Avalon proud.