Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sound Trouncing

Yesterday's netball game was the Ngaio Sapphires' second victory in a row. They played well again, with lots of good coordinated passing and good careful shooting. They switched up positions (again) and our Zoe wound up as GK (Goal Keeper) this time. Ngaio played SO well, that the ball was almost never at our end of the court and our poor Goal Keeper and the opposing team's Goal Shoot stood there side by side inside the semi-circular goal line and froze in the frigid winter wind. Make no mistake, it's wet and cold here. We got a bit of a break in the drizzle for the game, but it sprinkled on the courts throughout.

I believe the score ended up being six-to-one, Ngaio, which was a nice solid victory, but I'll have to admit that towards the end of the game I was rooting a bit for the other team to get some goals, retain possession of the ball, or in general just have a little more fun. Partially, I think, it was so that the ball would make its way towards Zoe so she'd have a chance to get involved and maybe warm up a little, but it was also just sympathy. I think the average height of the Ngaio players was probably a good head higher than the average height of their opponents, and when the little girls with their short arms were able to pass the ball around the large stilty Ngaio girls with their long wing spans, I couldn't help but feel a little impressed and sympathetic.

They were both Year 5 teams, so presumably the match-up was all on the up and up, but I still felt a poignant little pang when I was told that the other team hadn't yet won a game this season.

Zoe even told me she felt like she needed to not try as hard because, "you know, they were kind of short, dad." Maybe she doesn't have the killer instinct necessary for professional sports. I tried to explain the fine line between fair but aggressive good-sportsmanship and vicious and bloodthirsty sports sadism, but having no real bearings in sports and the sporting world to draw on, soon got lost in the uncertainties and just agreed that it seemed hard to want to beat another team that was working at a disadvantage. After all, I was the dad who started rooting for the other team a little.

I think Zoe and I both felt essentially the same thing.

In the end, it was fun. I enjoy Netball more than any of the other extra-curricular sports Zoe has gone out for. Maybe it's because it doesn't feel like a "real" sport to me---it's just some fun-looking made-up team-based activity and doesn't seem to come with Sporty-Super-Dads projecting their own failed sporting careers on their children from the sidelines.

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