By Artemis Sianni-Wedderburn, BA Politics and Arabic
Sport; nothing brings more people together in laughter, tears or frustration. SOAS Netball is no different. A staple at SOAS, it has become an institution within the sports community. The ability to interact with people from a variety of backgrounds as well as enjoy an emotional and physical release built around teamwork makes netball the sport to be a part of.
In this issue, former Social Secretary Alice Ede joins me on a Jordanian rooftop for a mint lemonade and a discussion about the easiest part of her week.
Played by two opposing teams, netball has 14 players on the court at any time. SOAS Netball usually takes 10 members to their games so that they may substitute players. After the whistle blows, players use various passes to try and get as many goals as possible with the hopes of winning.
Skill, agility, teamwork and a will for fun are mandatory ingredients for a team win. These are versatile qualities, found in people from various age groups, nationalities, orientations and levels of play. Diversity is what makes SOAS Netball unique and successful.
Alice originally got into the sport in primary school. If the team won, they would get ice cream. While this is as legitimate a reason to play as any, players also learn how to be competitive in a healthy way that sets them up for success later in life.
Additionally, it is hard to meet new people in such a massive city as London. The shared appreciation of pushing the limits both physically and emotionally creates a lasting bond that transcends traditional social barriers. Alice tells me that ‘it is like joining a family, and I’m grateful to have done it.’ She met her flatmates and her best friend through netball in her first year.
Joining is easy. SOAS Netball is active on both Instagram (@soasnetball) and Facebook (SOAS Netball), and regularly posts updates about training sessions and socials. Coaches and umpires are organised by the committee; it is the ‘easiest part of your week.’
All levels are encouraged to join as the society is inclusive and open to all. Anyone is welcome to come to their bi-weekly training sessions (Monday and Wednesday at Highbury Fields). In-person training and socials are back and (hopefully) here to stay.
built around catering to diverse needs and being inclusive
Socials include quiz and pub nights that members and non-members can come to. That being said, sports societies often have the reputation of having large drinking cultures. This is not the case for SOAS Netball nor for SOAS sports in general. Socials are built around catering to diverse needs and being inclusive.
The appointment of a Pastoral Secretary is reflective of this. If you have any issues with the society – including committee members – you can go to them without fear of exposure. They are there to keep you safe.
Last year was tough as government and university guidelines mandated that everyone stay 2 metres apart – this is difficult to do in a sports environment. Additionally, positive cases meant cancelled training sessions. This took away what Alice considers to be one of the best parts of games – the trip there and back.
When the team wins the ride back is euphoric, having burned energy, worked hard and played as a collective. SOAS Netball is also a part of the university varsity league and regularly plays against other London and UK universities, winning the varsity competition in 2019/20.
SOAS Netball hosts two games every Monday and one every Wednesday. Whether you are there as a player, a spectator or simply someone who is curious about what SOAS Netball is about, you can rest assured that it is going to be an afternoon to remember.
Caption: Team Training (credits: SOAS Netball)